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II || III I 

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1. HERODOTUS. Literally translated from the Text 

of BAEHR, by HENRY CAKY, M. A. 35. 6d. 


H.M.S. "BEAGLE." 25. 


Translated from the Greek by JEKEMY COLLIER. 
is. 6d. 


from the Greek, with Introduction and Notes, by 
T. W. ROLLESTON. is. 6d. 

5. BACON'S ESSAYS. With an Introduction by 

HENRY MORLEY, LL.D. is. 6d. 





BORNE. 3 s. 6d. 

35. 6d. 

1. THE SHI KING. Chinese National Poetry. 35. 6d. 

2. POPE'S HOMER. 3 s. 6d. 

3 . DRYDEN'S VIRGIL, is. 6d. 

4 . MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYS. 33. 6d. 

5. MILL'S SYSTEM OF LOGIC. 3 s. 6d. 




FIRDAUSL y. 6d. 



















LOlfDON ! 



F.R.S., D.C.L., LL.D. 

l^' the year 1886 I gave an address on " Books and Reading" 
at the Working Men's College, which in the following year was 
printed as one of the chapters in my " Pleasures of Life." 

In it I mentioned about one hundred names, and the list has 
been frequently referred to since as my list of "the hundred best 
books." That, however, is not quite a correct statement. If I 
were really to make a list of what are in my judgment the hundred 
greatest books, it would contain several Newton's " Principia," 
for instance which I did not include, and it would exclude several 
the " Koran," for instance which I inserted in deference to the 
judgment of others. Again, I excluded living authors, from some 
of whom Ruskin and Tennyson, Huxley and Tyndall, for in- 
stance, to mention no others I have myself derived the keenest 
enjoyment ; and especially I expressly stated that I did not select 
the books on my own authority, but as being those most frequently 
mentioned with approval by those writers who have referred 
directly or indirectly to the pleasure of reading, rather than as 
suggestions of my own. 

I have no doubt that on reading the list, many names of 
books which might well be added would occur to almost any one. 
Indeed, various criticisms on the list have appeared, and many 
books have been mentioned which it is said ought to have been 
included. On the other hand no corresponding omissions have 
been suggested. I have referred to several of the criticisms, and 
find that, while 300 or 400 names have been proposed for addition, 
only half a dozen are suggested for omission. Moreover, it is 
remarkable that not one of the additional books suggested appears 
in all the lists, or even in half of them, and only about half a 
dozen in more than one. 

But while, perhaps, no two persons would entirely concur as to 
all the books to be included in such a list, I believe no one would 
deny that those suggested are not only good, but among the best. 

I am, however, ready, and indeed glad, to consider any sugges- 
tions, and very willing to make any changes which can be shown 
to be improvements. I have indeed made two changes in the list 
as it originally appeared, having inserted Kalidasa's " Sakoontala, 


or The Ring," and Schiller's "William Tell"; omitting Lucretius, 
which is perhaps rather too difficult, and Miss Austen, as English 
novelists were somewhat over-represented. 

Another objection made has been that the books mentioned are 
known to every one, at any rate by name ; that they are as household 
words. Every one, it has been said, knows about Herodotus and 
Homer, Shakespeare and Milton. There is, no doubt, some truth 
in this. But even Lord Iddesleigh, as Mr. Lang has pointed out 
in his " Life," had never read Marcus Aurelius, and I may add 
that he afterwards thanked me warmly for having suggested the 
"Meditations" to him.* If, then, even Lord Iddesleigh, "prob- 
ably one of the last of English statesmen who knew the literature 
of Greece and Rome widely and well," had not read Marcus 
Aurelius, we may well suppose that others also may be in the same 
position. It is also a curious commentary on what was no doubt 
an unusually wide knowledge of classical literature that Mr. Lang 
should ascribe and probably quite correctly Lord Iddesleigh's 
never having had his attention called to one of the most beautiful 
and improving books in classical, or indeed in any other literature, 
to the fact that the emperor wrote in " crabbed and corrupt Greek." 

Again, a popular writer in a recent work has observed that " why 
any one should select the best hundred, more than the best eleven, 
or the best thirty books, it is hard to conjecture." But this remark 
entirely misses the point. Eleven books, or even thirty, would be 
very few ; but no doubt I might just as well have given 90, or no. 
Indeed, if our arithmetical notation had been duodecimal instead 
of decimal, I should no doubt have made up the number to 120. 
I only chose 100 as being a round number. 

Another objection has been that every one should be left to 
choose for himself. And so he must. No list can be more than 
a suggestion. But a great literary authority can hardly perhaps 
realize the difficulty of selection. An ordinary person turned into 
a library and sarcastically told to choose for himself, has to do so 
almost at haphazard. He may perhaps light upon a book with an 
attractive title, and after wasting on it much valuable time and 
patience, find that, instead of either pleasure or profit, he has 
weakened, or perhaps lost, his love of reading. 

Messrs. George Routleclge and Sons have conceived the idea of 
publishing the books contained in my list in a handy and cheaj> 
form, selecting themselves the editions which they prefer ; and . 
believe that in doing so they will confer a benefit on many who 
have not funds or space to collect a large library. 



30 March, 1891. 

* I have since had many other letters to the same effect. 








of tlje JsMjalj llamclj 





THE work here submitted to the public, presents for the 
first time in the English language an abridgment of the 
heroic poem of the great poet of Persia. It is now about five- 
and-twenty years since I first contemplated an abstract of the 
Shsili Nameh, in prose and verse ; and it was in the course of 
reading for that purpose that the episode containing the story 
of Sohrab, which I published with the original text in Calcutta 
in 1814, struck me as peculiarly meriting, from its highly 
chivalrous spirit and pathetic denouement, a more full transla- 
tion than could be given to the whole poem. But it was not 
till 1829 that the sea-voyage from India gave me an oppor- 
tunity of making such progress in the present undertaking, as 
to enable me to bring it to a speedy conclusion, and prepare it 
for the press. The general reader will now have the means of 
forming his own estimate of a production so celebrated, and so 
often referred to under the flattering designation of the Iliad 
of the East. Ho will at any rate see through an unpretending 
but intelligible medium, of what materials it is composed. 

The Shall Ndmeh is indeed a history in rhyme. It com- 
prises the annals and achievements of the ancient kings of 
Persia, from Kaiumers down to the invasion and conquest of 
that empire by the Saracens, in G3G, an estimated period of 


more than 3,600 years !* It was finished early in the eleventh 
century, gathered from the tales and legends for ages tradi- 
tionally known throughout the country, and in accordance 
with that origin, it abounds in adventures of the most wild and 
romantic description, in prodigious efforts of strength and 
valour, and there are heroines to be met with in the Persian 
bard as intrepid and beautiful as ever vanquished heart or 
wielded sword in western poetry. Ifc is, in fact, considered 
one of the finest productions of the kind which Oriental, or 
rather, perhaps, Mahommedan nations can boast ; and though 
the general character of Persian composition is well known to 
be excess of ornament and inflation of style, the language of 
Firdausl is comparatively simple, and possesses a greater 
portion of the energy and grace of our own poets than has 
been commonly admitted. His verse is exquisitely smooth 
and flowing, and never interrupted by inverted and harsh 
forms of construction. He is perhaps the sweetest as well as 
the most sublime poet of Persia, In epic grandeur he is above 
all, and he is besides one of the easiest to be understood. 

The author of the Shah Nameh has usually been called the 
Homer of the East, but it certainly could not be from any 
consideration of placing the Greek and Persian together in 
the same scale of excellence. Each may be more properly 
looked upon as the best of his own country. Sir William 
Jones, in his essay on the Poetry of the Eastern Nations, does 
" not pretend to assert that the poet of Persia is equal to that 
of Greece ; but there is certainly," he observes, " a very great 
resemblance between the works of those extraordinary men ; 
both drew their images from nature herself, without catching 

* Kar&mers is understood to be the Adam of the fire-worshippers, and the 
grandson of Nii, or Noah, of the Mahommedans. 


them only from reflection, and painting, in the manner of the 
modern poets, the likeness of a likeness ; and both possessed, 
in an eminent degree, the rich and creative invention, which is 
the very soul of poetry." There is another resemblance, which 
is, however, unconnected with their comparative merits ; but 
it is one which has chiefly, I think, given occasion to the 
Persian being called the Homer of the East ; the heroic poems 
of Firdausi are held exactly in the same estimation with 
reference to the works of other poets of Persia, as those of 
Homer are in the West. Like Homer, too, he describes a rude 
age, when personal strength and ferocious courage were chiefly 
valued, and when the tumultuous passions of the mind had 
not been softened and harmonized by civilization, or brought 
under the control of reason and reflection. Firdausi is also as 
much the father of Persian poetry as Homer is of the Greek ; 
but it would be little less than sacrilege to draw a critical 
comparison between the Shah Xameh and the Iliad ! 

It has been observed by Dr. Kurd, in his letters on Chivalry 
and Romance, that "there is a remarkable correspondence 
between the manners of the old heroic times, as painted by 
their great romancer Homer, and those which are represented 
to us in the modern books of knight-errantry." The corre- 
spondence is, however, infinitely more striking between the 
manners described by Firdausi and those of the age of 
European chivalry. It is well known that the Moors carried 
into Spain the fictions and romances of Arabia and Persia, 
and most of our best tales are supposed to be derived from the 
same source. It has already been said that Firdausi wrote in 
the beginning of the eleventh century, but it was not till the 
twelfth that romances of chivalry began to amuse and delight 
the western world. Although the Roman de la Rose was the 
first considerable work of the kind in verse, the poem which 


gave life and character to all succeeding tales of chivalry was 
the Orlando Innamoraio of Boyardo, afterwards improved and 
paraphrased by Berni. To this production we are indebted for 
the Orlando Furioso of Ariosfco ; and in a similar relation to 
each other stand the Bastan-Nameh, of which we shall presently 
speak, and the Shah Nameh of Firdausi. 

In the series of romantic adventures which constitute the 
Shah Nameh, the principal hero is Rustem. He is born 
during the reign of Minuchihr, and it is not till some centuries 
afterwards, whilst Gushtasp is sovereign of Persia, that he 
perishes by treachery, to avenge the death of Isfendiyiir, in- 
voluntarily slain by the champion. The career of this prodigy 
of strength, and piety, and valour, must thus have been of more 
than antediluvian duration, unless indeed it could be imagined 
that Rustem was adopted by the champion of every successive 
reign as a name or title of distinction ; but that is impossible, for 
his brother Ziiara dies with him : he is always the son of Zal, 
who indeed survives him, and the grandson of Sain, and there 
can be no doubt of his being the same individual throughout, 
the same everlasting conqueror.* So well has Firdausi preserved 
the indomitable spirit of this heroic character, that, even iu 
his last moments, he slays the wretch who had betrayed him. 

Rustem has been generally called the Persian Hercules, and 
in bravery and power the two heroes present many points of 
resemblance. Sir William Ouseley, in his valuable travels, has 
drawn an ingenious parallel between them, especially with 
regard to the labours of these celebrated champions. The 

* But the Shah Xameh cannot be said to have any pretensions to true 
history, and chronology is equally disregarded in the poetical imagination of 
Firdausi ; for, according to him, Jemshid had reigned seven hundred years 
before he was inspired with the impious ambition which occasioned his 
downfall, and the despotism of the usurper Zonal is stated to have lasted one 
thousand years ! 


labours of Rustcm were however only seven, whilst those of 
Hercules were twelve. It is not, I believe, understood that 
the series of exploits performed by the Persian hero are at 
all figurative, like those of the Grecian god ; for according 
to the theory of Dupuis, Hercules is considered as no other 
than the sun, and his twelve labours are regarded as a repre- 
sentation of the annual course of that luminary through the 
signs of the Zodiac. In the Shall Ntimeh, Isfendiyur has also 
his seven labours as well as Eustem, and both consist in the 
overthrow of devouring monsters, and the destruction of 
talismans and works of enchantment. Eustem, however, 
performs his exploits alone, mounted on his famous horse 
Eakush, whilst Isfendiydr is accompanied and assisted by a 
numerous party of horsemen. All nations, indeed, have had 
their unconquerable knights and destructive dragons. We 
had our St. George, and other countries can no doubt boast 
of cavaliers equally valiant, and of monsters equally pestiferous 
and horrible. 

Of Abul Kisim Firdausi, the author of this celebrated 
work, little is satisfactorily known. He was born at Tus, a 
city of Khorassan, about the year 950. But in Daulet Shah's 
account of the Persian poets, his proper name is said to have 
been Hassan, and that of his father Ishak Sherif Shah, who 
worked as a gardener on the domain of the governor of Tus. 
The following circumstances, respecting the origin of the 
poem and the life of the poet, are chiefly derived from the 
preface to the copy of the Shah Nameh which was collated 
in the year of the Hejira 829, about 400 years ago, by order 
of Bayisunghur Bahader Khcin. It appears from that preface 
that Yezdjird, the last king of the Sassanian race, took con- 
siderable pains in collecting all the chronicles, histories and 
traditions, connected with Persia and the sovereigns of that 


country, from the time of Kaiiimers to the accession of the 
Khosraus, which, by his direction, were digested and brought 
into one view, and formed the book known by the name of 
Syur-al-Miiluk, or the Bastan-Nameh. "When the followers 
of Mahommed overturned the Persian monarchy, this work 
was found in the plundered library of Yezdjird. The preface 
above alluded to minutely traces its progress through different 
hands in Arabia, Ethiopia, and Hindustan. The chronicle 
was afterwards continued to the time of Yezdjird. In the 
tenth century, one of the Kings of the Samanian dynasty 
directed Dukiki to versify that extensive work, but the poet only 
lived to finish a thousand distiches, having been assassinated 
by his own slave. Nothing further was done till the reign 
of Sultan Mahmud Sabuktugin, in the beginning of the 
eleventh century. That illustrious conqueror, whose restless 
ambition extended his dominion from the Tigris to the Ganges, 
and from the mountains of Tartary to the Indian Ocean, with 
the intention of augmenting the glories of his reign projected 
a history of the kings of Persia, and ordered the literary 
characters of his court conjointly to prepare one from all 
accessible records. While they were engaged upon this laborious 
undertaking, a romantic accident, which it is unnecessary to 
describe, furnished the Sultan with a copy of the Bastan- 
Nameh, the existence of which was till then unknown to him. 
From this work Mahmud selected seven Stories or Romances, 
which he delivered to seven poets to be composed in verse, that 
he might be able to ascertain the merits of each competitor. 
The poet Unsari, to whom the story of Kustem and Sohrab 
was given, gained the palm, and he was accordingly engaged 
to arrange the whole history in verse. 

Firdausi was at this time at TUB, his native city, where he 
cultivated his poetical talents with assiduity and success. He 


had heard of the attempt of Dukiki to versify the historj 
of the kings of Persia, and of the determination of the reigning 
king, Mahmiid, to patronize an undertaking which promised 
to add lustre to the age in which he lived. Having fortunately 
succeeded in procuring a copy of the Bastan-Nameh, he pur- 
sued his studies with unremitting zeal, and soon produced 
that part of the poem in which the battles of Zohak and 
Feridiin are described. The performance was universally read 
and admired, and it was not long before his fame reached 
the ears of the Sultan, who immediately invited him to his 

Another notice of his life states, that he and his brother 
Mahsud were originally husbandmen, occupied in the labours 
of the field at Tiis, and that it was the persecution of a malicious 
enemy which drove the poet from his native place. Firdausi 
told his brother that he was unable to endure the insults that 
were continually heaped upon him, and proposed that they 
should depart together to another country ; but Mahsud, not 
disposed to abandon his home, objected to this scheme. Fir- 
dausi however was determined to remain no longer at Tus, and 
immediately set out unfriended and alone on his way to 

When our author had reached the vieinity^of the capital, he 
happened to pass near a garden where Unsari, Usjudi, and 
Furroki were sitting drinking wine. These celebrated poets 
observed a stranger approach, and one of them said : " If that 
fellow comes hither he will spoil our pleasure, let us therefore 
get rid of him at once by scolding him away." But the others 
disapproved of this harsh mode of proceeding, and thought it 
would be better, and more consistent with their condition and 
character, to overcome him by some stroke of learning or 
waggery. When Firdausi drew near, mutual salutations having 


passed between them, they thus familiarly addressed him : 
" Here we are, engaged in making extemporaneous verses, and 
whoever is able to follow them up with promptitude and effect, 
shall be admitted as an approved companion to our social 
board." Firdausi was willing and ready to submit to this test, 
And Uusari thus commenced upon an apostrophe to a beautiful 
woman : 

The light of the moon to thy splendour is weak 

Usjudi rejoined : 

The rose is eclipsed by the bloom of thy check. 

Then Furroki : 

Thy eye-lashes dart through the folds of the joshun.* 

It was now Firdausi's turn ; and he said without a moment's 
pause, but with admirable felicity : 

Like the javelin of Giw in the battle with Poshun. 

The poets were astonished at the readiness of the stranger ; 
and being totally ignorant of the story of Giw and Poshun, 
inquired of him from whence it was derived, when Firdausi 
related to them the onslaught or encounter as described in the 
Bastan-Nameh. Upon which they treated him with the greatest 
kindness and respect, and were so pleased with the power and 
genius he displayed on other subjects, that they recommended 
him to the patronage of Shah Mahmiid ; an instance of dis- 
interestedness, if true, highly honourable to the rival poets. 

It is also related that the Sultan, when Firdansi was first 
introduced to him, requested the poet to compose some verses 

* Josliun armour 


m his presence ; upon which, Firdausi instantly pronounced 
the following : 

The cradled infant, whose sweet lips are yet 
Balmy with milk from its own mother's breast, 
Lisps first the name of MahmM. 

This rare compliment delighted the king, and confirmed his 
high opinion of the extraordinary merits of the poet. 

When Firdausi arrived at Ghizni, the success of Unsari, 
in giving a poetical dress to the romance of Rustem and Sohrtib, 
was the subject of general observation and praise. Animated 
by this proof of literary taste at court, he commenced upon 
the story of the battles of Isfendiyar and Rustem ; and having 
completed it, he embraced the earliest opportunity of getting 
that poem presented to the Sultan, who had already seen 
abundant evidence of the transcendent talents of the author. 
Mahmud regarded the production with admiration and delight. 
He without hesitating a moment appointed him to complete the 
Shah Nameh, and ordered his chief minister * to pay him a 
thousand miskals for every thousand distichs, and at the same 
time honoured him with the surname of Firdausi, because that 
he had diffused over his court the delights of paradise.t 
Unsari himself liberally acknowledged the superiority of 
Firdausi's genius, and relinquished the undertaking without 
apparent regret. 

The minister, in compliance with the injunctions of Mahmud, 
offered to pay the sums as the work went on ; but Firdausi 
unfortunately preferred waiting till he had completed his 
engagement, and receiving the whole at once, as he had long 
indulged the hope of being able to do something of importance 
for the benefit of his native city. 

It appears that Firdausi, in his new situation, did not act 

* Ahmed Mymundi. t Firdaus signifies paradi-e. 



with becoming discretion. He had composed verses in honour 
of the minister whose office it was to supply him with whatever 
he might require, but did nothing to conciliate the good graces 
of Aiyar, one of the principal favourites of Mahmud. In con- 
sequence of this omission, Aiyar sought every opportunity to 
injure Firdausi and ruin his interests with the king. Several 
passages in his poems were extracted and invidiously com- 
mented upon, as containing sentiments contrary to the prin- 
ciples of the true faith ! It was alleged that they proved him 
to be a hypocritical philosopher, and a schismatic. The king 
was highly indignant on hearing that the poet was guilty of 
cherishing impious doctrines ; upon which occasion Firdausi 
solicited an audience, and throwing himself at the feet of 
Mahmud, protested against the malignant calumny which had 
been brought against him ; but Mahmud replied that all the 
people of Tiis were of the same character, all heretics alike ! 
The situation of the poet under royal displeasure had thus 
become critical, and he remained at Ghizni, though still pro- 
secuting his labours, in a state of great anxiety and alarm. 
But in spite of all that artifice and malignity could frame, the 
poet rose in the esteem of the public. Admiration followed 
him in the progress of the work, and presents were showered 
upon him from every quarter. The poems were at length 
completed. The composition of sixty thousand couplets * ap- 

* In ' dissertation called Yamini, it is said that the ancient poet liudiki, 
who flourished half a century before Firdansf, had written one million and 
three hundred verses ; an Oriental Lope de Vega ! 

The copies of the Shah Nameh now generally met with, vary in extent 
many thousand couplets few of them containing the original number. This 
inequality has been thus accounted for ; the katibs, or copyers, engaged upon 
so immense a work, are apt to expedite the accomplishment of their task by 
omissions in different parts, whilst, on the other hand, many of them hare 
not only interpolated passages but whole episodes. The curious in composition 
and style have long been amused in conjecturing what is genuine, and what is 
added or doubtful, but to very little purpose, some of the questioned stories 
being fully equal to the best parts of the poem. 


pears to have cost him the labour of thirty years. The Sultan 
was fully sensible of the value and excellence of that splendid 
monument of genius and talents, and proud of being the 
patroniscr of a work which promised to perpetuate his name, 
he ordered an elephant-load of gold to be given to the author. 
But the malignity of the favourite was unappeased, and he was 
still bent upon the degradation and ruin of the poet. Contriv- 
ing to establish his own success with the king, instead of the 
elephant-load of gold, he managed to get sent to him 60,000 
silver dirhems ! Firdausi was in the public bath at the time ; 
and when he found that the bags contained only silver, he was 
so enraged at the insult offered to him, that on the spot he gave 
20,000 to the keeper of the bath, 20,000 to the seller of refresh- 
ments, and 20,000 to the slave who brought them. "The 
Sultan shall know," said he, " that I did not bestow the labour 
of thirty years on a work, to be rewarded with dirhems ! " 
When this circumstance came to the knowledge of the king, he 
was exceedingly exasperated at the conduct of his favourite, 
who had, however, artifice and ingenuity enough to exculpate 
himself, and to cast all the blame upon the poet. Firdausi was 
charged with disrespectful and insulting behaviour to his sove- 
reign ; and Mahmud, thus stimulated to resentment, and no 
longer questioning the veracity of the favourite, passed an order 
that the next morning he should be trampled to death under 
the feet of an elephant ! The unfortunate poet was thrown 
into the greatest consternation when he heard of the will of the 
Sultan. He immediately hurried to the presence, and agam 
falling at the feet of the king, begged for mercy, pronouncing 
at the same time an elegant eulogium on the glories of his 
reign, and the innate generosity of his heart. The king, 
touched by his agitation, and still respecting the brilliancy of 
his talents, at length condescended to revoke the order. 

I 2 


But the wound \vas deep, and not to be endured without a 
murmur. He immediately obtained from the librarian of 
Mahmud the' copy of the Shah Ndmeh which he had presented 
to the king, and wrote in it his satire on the Sultan with all 
the bitterness of reproach which insulted merit could devise, 
and instantly fled from the court. He passed some time at 
Maziuderiin (Hyrcania), and afterwards took refuge at Bagdad, 
where he was in higli favour with the Kalif al Kildcr Billah, in 
whose praise he added a thousand couplets to the Shah Nameh, 
and for which he received a robe of honour and 60,000 dinars. 
He also wrote a poem called Joseph during his stay in that 

Another account says, that after abandoning his own country, 
Firdausi remained for some time in the house of Abu el Miiali, 
a dealer in books at Herat. Mahmud had, after his escape, 
sent persons in search of him in every direction ; and as they 
made known the purpose of their mission in every town they 
came to, our poet in great sorrow returned to Tiis ; but afraid 
of not being safe there, he took leave of his relations and friends 
and obtained a place of refuge in Rusterndar. The governor 
received him with kindness, and offered him one hundred and 
sixty miskals * of gold if he would cancel from the Shah Nameli 
the satire composed by him against Mahmud. Firdausi, adds 
this account, agreed to the proposal, cancelled the verses, and 
then returned to Tiis, where he lived obscurely to an old age. 

It is further said that Mahmud at length became acquainted 
with the falsehood and treachery of the vizir, whose cruel perse- 
cution of the unoffending poet had involved the character and 
reputation of his court in disgrace. His indignation appeared 
to be extreme, and the favourite was banished for ever from his 

* A misk;;l is about a drachm and a half in weight 


presence. Anxious to make all the reparation in his power for 
the injustice he had been guilty of, whether purposely or other- 
wise, he immediately dispatched a present of G0,000 dinars and 
a robe of state with many apologies for what had happened. 
But Firdausi did not live to be gratified by this consoling ac- 
knowledgment. He had returned to his friends at Tus, where 
he died before the present from the king arrived. His family, 
however, scrupulously devoted it to the benevolent purposes 
which the poet had originally intended, viz. the erection of 
public buildings, and the general improvement of his native 

This latter circumstance is somewhat differently related in 
Daulet Shah's biography. Mahmutl, it is said, in one of his 
twelve expeditions to India, hearing his minister repeat a pas- 
sage from the Shah Nameh happily descriptive of his situation 
at the time, was strongly reminded of Firdausi ; and recollect- 
ing with regret the injustice he had done the poet, inquired 
what had become of him. The minister replied that he was 
now very old and infirm, and living obscurely at Tus. The 
Sultan instantly ordered a present, worthy of the poet and of 
himself, to be forwarded to him ; but at the moment the per- 
sons in charge of this present entered the gate of Tus, the body 
of Firdausi was being conveyed through the same gate to be 
buried. When the funeral ceremony was over, however, the 
amount was carried to his surviving sister : but she refused to 
receive it, saying, " What have I to do now with the wealth of 
kings ? " 

This brief biographical notice is the sum of all that is known 
of the great Firdausi. The poet seems to have lived to a con- 
siderable age. When he -\vrote the satire against Mahmiid, 
according to his own account, he was more than seventy. 


Wheii charity demands a bounteous dole, 
Close is thy hand, contracted as thy soul ; 
Now seventy years have marked my long career, 
Nay more, but age has no protection here ! 

Probably about ten years elapsed during his sojourn at Muzin- 
deran and Bagdad, after he quitted the court of Ghizni, so that 
he mnst have been at least eighty when he died. It appears 
from several parts of the satire, that a period of thirty years 
was employed in the composition of the Shah Nameh, from 
which it must be inferred that he had been engaged upon 
that work long before the accession of Mahimid to the throne, 
for that monarch survived Firdausi ten years, and the period of 
his reign was only thirty-one. Although there be nothing in 
the preceding memoir to indicate that the poet had com- 
menced versifying the Bastan Nameh nine years before the 
reign of Mahmiid, the circumstance can hardly be questioned. 
All oriental biography is so vague, metaphorical, and undeter- 
mined, that there is always great difficulty in arriving at the 
simplest fact, yet it is not at all probable that the round 
number of thirty years was falsely assumed by the poet. 

Notwithstanding the turn which is given, by the preface just 
mentioned, to the cause of Firdausi's disappointment, in re- 
ferring it solely to the rancour of the minister, the conduct of 
Mahmiid appears to have been, in the highest degree, in- 
considerate and cruel. He mnst have well known that dirhems 
had been sent instead of the elephant-load of gold, and it was 
unworthy of the conqueror of the world to suffer himself to be 
flattered and cajoled into petty resentment against the man 
who had immortalized the exploits of so many ancient heroes, 
and who, in the opening verses of the poem, had done such 
honour to his name. The present of <50,000 dinars which he 
afterwards sent to him seems at any rate to shew (upon the 


presumption of his having been purposely unjust) that he felt 
some stings of conscience, and that he wished to recover from 
the disgrace which attached to him, as a patron of literature, 
from so dishonourable a transaction. 

A more favourable construction, however, may be enter- 
tained from the facts adduced. The order for an elephant- 
load of gold to be presented to the poet, whatever might be 
meant by that imposing term, appears to have arisen from 
a spontaneous impulse of generosity. Mahmud may have 
been afterwards the dupe of the minister, and his last atoning 
act of liberality would seem to favour that conclusion ; but no 
dependence can be placed on the humour of an Asiatic despot. 
Yet it might be presumed that the sovereign who had the 
justice aud magnanimity to punish with death an offender 
whom he would not see till after execution, suspecting 
him to be his own son,* would hardly treat a poor poet so 
disgracefully. However this may have been, the satire of 
Firdausi, written at the moment of provocation, and with 
strongly exasperated feelings, appears to have had the power of 
stamping with obloquy in this respect the character of Mahmud, 
and of giving negative effect to the adulation which he had 
lavishly bestowed upon the same individual at the com- 
mencement of his poem. Thus singularly enough the work 
begins with an extravagant eulogy, and ends with the most 
scornful vituperation of his patron. 

The tomb of Firdausi is in the city of Tus, and much fre- 
quented by pilgrims. It is said of Shaik Abul Kasim Korkani 
that he refused to offer up the customary prayer for Firdausi, 
because he had written so much in praise of the fire- worshippers. 
But upon the following night he dreamt that he saw Firdausi 

* The story is told by Gibbon in his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. 


in Paradise raised to a high degree of glory, when he asked 
him how he had merited that distinction, and the poet replied, 
" On account of the passages in which I have celebrated the 
greatness and the unity of God." 

In delivering this abridgment to the public, I have been 
anxious to make it as comprehensive and interesting to the 
general reader, as the extent of the labour I had prescribed to 
myself, and my own ability would allow. But it necessarily 
contains merely the substance of the Shah Nameh, though in 
many parts in considerable detail ; and I have therefore deemed 
it important, with the view of showing more fully Firdausf s 
powers as a poet, to add a revised edition of my translation of 
Sohrab. Thus whilst the abridgment exhibits the scope and 
character of the poem, this favourite episode will at once dis- 
play the force and spirit with which Firdausi's outlines are 
traced and his colouring supplied. 

But I must not conclude without remarking, that Fir- 
dausi's great work continues to be held in the highest estima- 
tion throughout Persia, and favourite passages from the 
various adventures are still treasured up and quoted on all 
fitting occasions. So popular is our old romancer, that the 
copies of the Shah Nameh are innumerable, and some of them 
are not only admirable specimens of fine ornamental writing, 
but they are generally enriched with coloured drawings of 
exquisite finish, illustrative of the most prominent events of 
the work. One of the copies which I used in the execution of 
the present abridgment was of this kind, splendidly illuminated 
and sprinkled with gold, and cost upwards of one hundred 
guineas. In India even, that is Hindustan and the southern 
regions of the East, \vhereverthePersianlanguageisunderstood 
and cultivated, the Shah Nurnch is also highly prized ; but it is 
perhaps most known by a very clever epitome of it, written in. 


the same language, by Shumshfr Khan in the year 1063 of the 
Mahommedan era. The original work has outlived eight 
centuries with undiminished lustre, in countries, too, where 
copies can only be multiplied at a great expense, verifying the 
prophecy of the poet, who predicted the immortality of his 
verse with as much confidence as Ovid when he wrote his 
celebrated peroration 

Jamque opus exegi ; quod nee Jovis ira, nee ignis. 
Nee poterit ferrum, nee edax abolere vetustas. 

LONDON, May 1, 1832. 



Kaiiimers, the first king of Persia 1 

Hiisheng ascends the throne, and founds the religion of the Fire- 
worshippers 3 

Tahumers, the Binder of Demons 5 

Jemshid, his ambition and the declension of his power 6 

Mirtas-Tazf, his generosity 8 

Zohak, instigated by Iblis, causes his father's death 9 

Two black-serpents rise out from his shoulders, and are fed with 

" the brain of man" 10 

Jemshid, a wanderer, his misfortunes, marries the daughter of the 

kingofZabul 11 - 

Is obliged to fly, to avoid being betrayed into the hands of Zohak... 23 

Jemshid in fetters before Zohak 24 

Put to death 24 

Zohak's dream, prophetic of his fall 25 

The birth of Feridun, and death of his father, Abtin 26 * 

Faranuk escapes, with Feridun her son^ to the mountain Albcrz ... 27 
Feridun vows vengeance against Zohak, for the murder of his 

father !. 28 

Kavah, the Blacksmith, rebels against Zohak on account of his 

cruelty 29 

Brings Feridun from his retreat, and accompanies him against 

Zohak 31 

The capture of Zohak's palace, and release of Jemshid 's two sisters 32 

Zohak woiinded, and buried alive in a deep cave 34 

The revolt of Ferklun's two sons, Silim and Tiir, and their enmity 

against their younger brother, Irij 35 

Irij proceeds on a conciliatory mission from his father, and is put 

to death by them 40 

The agony of Feridun 41 

The birth of Minuchihr .. 42 / 

xxviii CONTEXTS. 

Preparations of Minuchihr against Silim and Tur, who in vain sue 

for peace with Feridun 43 

A battle ensues, in which the two brothers are defeated 46 

Tiir and Silim slain 47 

The birth of Zal 49 / 

He is abandoned on the mountain Alberz, on account of having 

white hair is nourished by the Simurgh 43 

In a dream, Sam, his father, is warned to bring back his child, now 

grown up, and of great promise 50 

Zal's marriage with Rudabeh 51 

The exploits of Sam described to Minuchihr 03 

The birth of Rustem G.~> 

Whilst yet a boy, kills the white elephant of Minuchihr 67 

His expedition against the fort on the mountain Sipnnd 68 

The death of Minuchihr 70 

The tyranny of Nauder his successor 71 

Afrasiyab marches against Naiider 74 

Becomes the ruler of Persia 78 

Puts Nauder to death 79 

And also his own brother, Aglmrns 80 

Zal places Zau on the throne of Persia, and Afrasiyiib is driven back 

into Turan Garshasp, the son of Zau, ascends the throne 81 

Poshang's grief on account of the murder of Aghriras, his son 82 

Zal equips Eustem for battle against Afrasiyab, but first sends him 

to discover the retreat of Kai-kobacl 84 

Kai-kobad raised to the throne 87 

The battle between the Persians and Turanians, in which Rustem 

carries off Afrasiyab's crown and girdle 88 

Kai-kaiis succeeds his father, and longs for the invasion of Mazin- 

dcran 92 

His expedition fails he, and the army are captured by the 

Demons 96 

Rustem engages to liberate them, and proceeds by the Heft-Khan 

First Stage, encounters and overcomes a lion 98 

Second Stage. Traverses a burning desert 100 

Third Stage. Kills a furious dragon 101 

Fourth Stage. Destroys a sorceress 102 / 

Fifth Stage. Conquers Aulad, who describes the caves of the 

demons, and kills Arzang, the demon chief 103 

Sixth Stage. Enters the city of Mazinderan, and releases Kai-kaus, 

though still blind by the sorcery of the demons 10o 



Seventh Stage. Overthrows and kills the White Demon lUti 

The blcKxl of the White Demon's heart restores Kaus' sight , 108 

Rustem kills the magician-king of Mazinderan 110 

Kaus makes a tour of the provinces of Persia Ill 

The rebel Shah of Hamaveran subdued 112 

Kaus marries Sudarch, his daughter, and is deceived and im- 
prisoned by the father 112 -/ 

In consequence Afrasiyab invades and takes possession of Iran ... 113 
Rustem collects an army, and defeating the Shah of Ilarnavcran, 

restores Kaus to liberty 116 

Afrasiyab is driven back to Tiiran 117 

Kaus is persuaded to explore the Heavens, supported by eagles ... 118 

Is thrown down into a desert, and rescued by Rustem 119 

Rustem and his seven companions proceed towards Tiira.ii on a 

hunting excursion, and a great battle ensues 120 

The story of Sohrab, the son of Rustem 122 

Sohrab is encouraged by Afrasiyab to fight against Kails 127 

Captures the barrier fort 129 

Rustem is sent to oppose his progress 131 

Sohrab's anxiety to discover his father 133 

They engage in combat unknown to each other, and Sohrab is slain. 139 

Rustem's agony in discovering that he was his son 141 / 

Tahmineh inconsolable 142 /' 

The story of Saiawush 143 

A damsel met with in a forest, is espoused by Kaus, and gives birth 

to Saiawush 144 v 

When he grows up, Siidaveh becomes enamoured of him her in- 
trigues 146 

In her despair she accuses him of outrage 147 ' 

He is sentenced to the ordeal of fire, and his innocence proved 148 

Afrasiyab threatens another invasion of Iran, is defeated and has a 
terrible dream, which induces him to sue for peace and deliver 

hostages to Saiawush 149 

Kaus disapproves of the terms and supersedes Saiawush, who in 

anger joins Afrasiyab 151 

Saiawush marries the daughter of Piran-wisah, and afterwards the 

daughter of Afrasiyab 154 

Intrigues of Gersiwaz against Saiawush, who is put to death by 

order of Afrasiyab 156 

Condemns also his daughter Ferangis to death, but she is saved by 

Piran, and gives birth to Kai-khosrau 160 ' 



The young prince is brought up in secret 161 

Rustem upbraids Kai-kaiis for his conduct to Saiawush, and puts 

Siidaveh to death 164 

Proceeds against Af rdsiyab the conflict and defeat of the Turanians 1 66 

Rustem conquers Turan, and rules the country seven years 167 

Kai-khosrau and his mother Ferangis brought f rom their retirement 

by Giw their escape across the Jihiin 173 

Friburz and Khosrau, each attack a demon-fortress, the latter suc- 
ceeds 177 

Kai-khosrau raised to the throne 179 

A severe battle between the Persians and Turanians, the latter 

victorious 183 

Baru the magician put to death 184 

Piran-wisah victorious 185 

Rustem opposed by Kamus, the Khnkan of Chin, and Piran-wisah 186 

Is victorious Kamus slain 188 

Piransues for peace 191 

The Khakan of Chin slain 194 

Kafiir, the cannibal 195 

Defeat of Puladwund, and flight of Afrasiyab 197 

Akwan Diw 198 

His combat with Rustem, and death 201 

The loves of Byzun and Manijeh, the daughter of Afrasiyab 202 

Afrasiyab's wrath against them, and punishment of Byzun 207 

Byzun released by Rustem 215 

Barzii and his conflict with Rustem.. 217 

Siisen the sorceress, and Afrasiyab 227 

Her plot to get the Iranian warriors into her power 228 

Rnstem frustrates her views, and Afrasiyab is defeated 232 

The expedition of Gudarz against Afrasiyab 235 

Piran-wisah is slain in battle 236 

The death of Afrasiyab 240 

The mysterious death of Kai-khosrau 243 

The reign of Lohurasp 246 

Gushtasp abandons his father's house 247 

Is married to Kitabun. the daughter of the king of Rum 250 

His bravery and exploits 252 

Gushtasp is restored in favour by the king of Rum and subdues 

Khuz 254 

Succeeds his father Lohurasp 257 


The valour of his son Isfendiyar 262 

He propagates the faith of Zerdusht 263 

Gurzam stimulates his father against him 263 

He is put iu prison 265 

Arjasp invades the kingdom, Gushtasp is defeated and his house- 
hold and daughters made prisoners 267 

Isfendiyar is released, to rescue the kingdom arid his sisters, and 

proceeds against Arjasp by the Heft-Khan 270 ~S 

First Stage destroys two wolves 274 

Second Stage a lion and lioness 275 -^ 

Third stage a great dragon 276 

Fourth stage an enchantress 277 

Fifth Stage kills a Simurgh 279 

Sixth Stage is overtaken by a tempest of wind and snow, and 

escapes unharmed 280 

Seventh Stage passes a burning desert 281 

Capture of the brazen fortress, and death of Arjasp 284 

The return of Isfendiyar 290 

His fate foretold 291 

Gushtasp orders him to bring Ilustem to him in fetters 292 

Proceeds reluctantly against the champion 296 

Altercation with Eustem 298 

The combat 305 

The death of Isfendiyar 309 

The death of Kustem 313 

Bahman succeeds Gushtasp 317 

Hiimai, and the birth of Darab 320 \/ 

The reign of Darab 327 

Dara 328 

Sikander, his victories 329 

His death 338 

Firdausi's Invocation 339 

Firdausi's Satire on Mahmad 341 

The Story of Sohrab 344 

The system of Sir William Jones in the printing of Oriental words has 
been kept in view in the following work, viz. The letter a represents the 
short vowel as in lat, a with an accent the broad sound of a in hall, i as 
in lily, i with an accent as in police, u as in bull, u with an accent as in 
rude, 6 with an accent as o in. pole, the diphthong ai as in aisle, au as in 
the German word kraut or ou in Jioutc. 



ACCORDING to the traditions of former ages, recorded in the 
Bastan-nameh, the first person who established a code of laws 
and exercised the functions of a monarch in Persia, was 
Kaiiimers. It is said that he dwelt among the mountains, and 
that his garments were made of the skins of beasts. 

His reign was thirty years, and o'er the earth 
He spread the blessings of paternal sway ; 
Wild animals, obsequious to his will, 
Assembled round his throne, and did him homage. 
He had a son named Saiamuk, a youth 
Of lovely form and countenance, in war 
Brave and accomplished, and the dear delig'ut 
Of his fond father, who adored the boy, 
And only dreaded to be parted from him. 
So is it ever with the world the parent 
Still doating on his offspring. Kaiiimers 
Had not a foe, save one, a hideous Demon,* 

* The first encounter in the Shah Nameh is between the son of Kaiumers 
and a demon. There does not seem to exist among the Persians any very 
well denned notion respecting these demons, diws, or dives. They are, 
however, generally represented in human shape, with horns, long ears, and 
sometimes with a tail, as Lord Monboddo says, " depending from their gable 
ends," yet possessed of superior power and intelligence. They are also 
enchanters, and sorcerers. The most renowned were those of Mazinderan, 
whom Rustem overthrew. They were always considered superior to common 
human beings, and always the most effective allies, and the most formidable 
foes. They were often of caliban-aspect, giants ; and though they had the 
faculty of vanishing whenever they chose, we frequently see them dispatched 
and slain in battle, in the common way, by sword or battle-axe. They are 
sometimes like spirits of the storm, wild and destructive, and sometimes they 
we of less consequence, and occupied in inferior duties. JemshSd had many 



Who viewed his power with envy, and aspired 
To work his ruin. He, too, had a son. 
Fierce as a wolf, whose days were dark and bitter. 
Because the favouring heavens in kinder mood 
Smiled on the monarch and his gallant heir. 
When Saiamuk first heard the Demon's aim 
Was to o'erthrow his father and himself, 
Surprise and indignation filled his heart, 
And speedily a martial force he raised, 
To punish the invader. Proudly garbed 
In leopard's skin, he hastened to the war ; 
But when the combatants, with eager mien, 
Impatient met upon the battle-field, 
And both together tried their utmost strength, 
Down from his enemy's dragon-grasp soon fell 
The luckless son of royal Kaiumers, 
Vanquished and lifeless. Sad, unhappy fate ! 

Disheartened by this disastrous event, the army immediately 
retreated, and returned to Kaiumers, who wept bitterly for the 
loss of his son, and continued a long time inconsolable. But 
'after a year had elapsed a mysterious voice addressed him, 
saying : " Be patient, and despair 1 not, thou hast only to 
send another army against the Demons?, and the triumph and 
the victory will be thine. 

Drive from the earth that Demon horrible, 
And sorrow will be rooted from thy heart.'' 

Saidmuk left a son whose name was Husheng, whom the king 
loved much more even than his father. 

Husheng his name. There seemed in him combined, 
Knowledge and goodness eminent. To him 
Was given his father's dignity and station. 
And the old man, his grandsire, scarcely deigned 
To look upon another, his affection 
For him was so unbounded. 

Kaiumers having appointed Hiisheng the leader of the army, 

in his service. , The demons taught Tahumers the TISC of letters, after he 
had conquered them, and had acquired the appellation of Diw-bund, or the 
cliainer of demons. Diw, or demon, means also a god, or personage of a 
higher class in the scale of earthly beings. 


the young hero set out with an immense body of troops to 
engage the Demon and his son. It is said that at that time 
every species of animal, wild and tame, was obedient to his 

The savage beasts, and those of gentler kind, 
Alike reposed before him, and appeared 
To do him homage. 

The wolf, the tiger, the lion, the panther, and even the fowls 
of the air, assembled in aid of him, and he, by the blessing of 
God, slew the Demon and his offspring with his own hand. 
After which the army of Rammers, and the devouring animals 
that accompanied him in his march, defeated and tore to pieces 
the scattered legions of the enemy. Upon the death of Kaiumers 
Hiisheng ascended the throne of Persia. 


It is recorded that Hiisheng was the first who brought out 
fire from stone, and from that circumstance he founded the 
religion of the Fire-worshippers, calling the flame which was 
produced, the Light of the Divinity.* The accidental discovery 
of this element is thus described : 

Passing, one day, towards the mountain's side, 
Attended by his train, surprised he saw 
Something in aspect terrible its eyes 
Fountains of blood ; its dreadful mouth sent forth 

* Firdausi speaks here of Husheng, the second king of the Peshcladian 
dynasty, having founded the religion of the fire-worshippers, but from that 
time the faith seems to have slept till the appearance of Zerdusht, in the 
reign of Gushtasp, many centuries afterwards, when Isfer.diydr propagated it 
at the point of the sword. 

B 2 


Volumes of smoke that darkened all the air. 

Fixing his gaze upon that hideous form, 

He seized a stone, and with prodigious force 

Hurling it. chanced to strike a jutting rock, 

Whence sparks arose, and presently a fire 

O'erspread the plain, in which the monster perished. 

Thus Husheng found the element which shed 

Light through the world. The monarch prostrate bowed, 

Praising the great Creator, for the good 

Bestowed on man, and, pious, then he said, 

" This is the Light from Heaven, sent down from God ; 

If ye be wise, adore and worship it ! " 

It is also related that, iii the evening of the day on which the 
luminous flash appeared to him from the stone, he lighted an 
immense fire, and, having made a royal entertainment, he called 
it the Festival of Siddeh. By him the art of the blacksmith 
was discovered, and he taught river and streamlet to supply the 
towns, and irrigate the fields for the purposes of cultivation. 
And he also brought into use the fur of the sable, and the 
squirrel, and the ermine. Before his time mankind had nothing 
for food but fruit, and the leaves of trees and the skins of animals 
for clothing. He introduced, and taught his people, the method 
of making bread, and the art of cookery. 

Then ate they their own bread, for it was good, 
And they were grateful to their benefactor ; 
Mild laws were framed the very land rejoiced, 
Smiling with cultivation ; all the world 
Remembering Husheng's virtues. 

The period of his government is said to have lasted foity 
years, and he was succeeded by his son, Tahumers. 



This sovereign was also called Diw-bund, or the Binder of 
Demons. He assembled together all the wise men in his domi- 
nions, to consider and deliberate upon whatever might be of 
utility and advantage to the people of God. In his days wool 
was spun and woven, and garments and carpets manufactured, 
and various animals, such as panthers, falcons, hawks, and 
syagoshes, were tamed, and taught to assist in the sports of the 
field. Tahiimers had also a vizir, renowned for his wisdom and 
understanding. Having one day charmed a Demon into his 
power by philters and magic, he conveyed him to Tahumers ; 
upon which, the brethren and allies of the prisoner, feeling 
ashamed and degraded by the insult, collected an army, and 
went to war against the king. Tahumers was equally in wrath 
when he heard of these hostile proceedings, and having also 
gathered together an army on his part, presented himself before 
the enemy. The name of the leader of the Demons was Ghii. 
On one side the force consisted of fire, and smoke, and Demons ; 
on the other, brave and magnanimous warriors. Tahumers 
lifted his mace, as soon as he was opposed to the enemy, and 
giving G-hu a blow on the head, killed him on the spot. The 
other Demons being taken prisoners, he ordered them to be 
destroyed ; but they petitioned for mercy, promising, if their 
lives were spared, that they would teach him a wonderful art. 
Tahumers assented, and they immediately brought their books, 
and pens and ink, and instructed him how to read and write. 

They taught him letters, and his eager mini! 
With learning was illumined. The world was blest 
With quiet and repose, Peris and Demons 
Submitting to his will. 

The reign of Tahumers lasted thirty years and after him the 
monarchy descended to Jemshid, his son. 



Jemshid was eminently distinguished for learning and wisdom. 
It is said that coats of mail, cuirasses, and swords, and various 
kinds of armour, were invented and manufactured in his time, 
and also that garments of silk were made and worn by his 

"Helmets and swords, with curious art they made, 
Guided by Jemshid's skill ; and silks and linen 
And robes of fur and ermine. Desert lands 
Were cultivated ; and wherever stream 
Or rivulet wandered, and the soil was good, 
He fixed the habitations of his people ; 
And there they ploughed and reaped : for in that n^e 
All laboured ; none in sloth and idleness 
Were suffered to remain, since indolence 
Too often vanquishes the best, and turns 
To nought the noblest, firmest resolution. 

Jemshid afterwards commanded his Demons to construct a 
splendid palace, and he directed his people how to make the 
foundations strong. 

He taught the unholy Demon-train to mingle 
Water and clay, with which, formed into bricks. 
The walls were built, and then high turrets, towers, 
And balconies, and roofs to keep out rain 
And cold, and sunshine. Every art was known 
To Jemshid, without equal in the world. 

He also made vessels for the sea and the river, and erected a 
magnificent throne, embellished with pearls and precious stones ; 
and having seated himself upon it, commanded his Demons to 
raise him up in the air, that lie might be able to transport him- 
self in a moment wherever he chose. He named the first day 
of the year Nil-riiz, and on every Nu-raz he made a royal 
feast, so that under his hospitable roof, mortals, and Genii, and 
Demons, and Peris, were delighted and happy, every one being 
equally regaled with wine and music. His government is said 


to have continued in existence seven hundred years, and during 
that period, it is added, none of his subjects suffered death, or 
were afflicted with disease. 

Man seemed immortal, sickness was unknown, 
And life rolled on in happiness and joy. 

After the lapse of soveu hundred years, however, inordinate 
ambition inflamed the heart of Jemshid, and, having assembled 
all the illustrious personages and learned men in his dominions 
before him, he said to them : " Tell me if there exists, or ever 
existed, in all the world, a king of such magnificence and power 
as I am ? " They unanimously replied : " Thou art alone, 
the mightiest, the most victorious : there is no equal to thee ! " 
The just God beheld this foolish pride and vanity with displea- 
sure, and, as a punishment, cast him from the government of 
an empire into a state of utter degradation and misery. 

All looked upon the throne, and heard and saw 

Nothing but Jemshid, he alone was king, 

Absorbing every thought ; and in their praise, 

And adoration of that mortal man, 

Forgot the worship of the great Creator. 

Then proudly thus he to his nobles spoke, 

Intoxicated with their loud applause. 

" I am unequalled, for to me the earth 

Owes all its science, never did exist 

A sovereignty like mine, beneficent 

And glorious, driving from the populous land 

Disease and want. Domestic joy and rest 

Proceed from me. all that is good and great 

Waits my behest ; the universal voice 

Declares the splendour of my government, 

Beyond whatever human heart conceived, 

And me the only monarch of the world." 

Soon as these words had parted from his lips, 

Words impious, and insulting to high heaven, 

His earthly grandeur faded. then all tongues 

Grew clamorous and bold. The day of Jemshid 

Passed into gloom, his brightness all obscured. 

What said the Moralist ? " When thou wert a king 

Thy subjects were obedient, but whoever 

Proudly neglects the worship of his God, 

Brings desolation on his house and home." 

And when he marked the insolence of his people, 

He knew the wrath of Heaven had been provoked, 

And terror overcame him. 



The old historians relate that Mirtas was the name of a king 
of the Arabs-; and that he had a thousand animals which gave 
milk, and the milk of these animals he always distributed in 
charity among the poor. God was pleased with his goodness, 
and accordingly increased his favour upon him. 

Goats, sheep, and camels, yielded up their store 
Of balmy milk, with which the generous king 
Nourished the indigent and helpless poor. 

Mirtiis had a son called Zohiik, who possessed ten thousand 
Arab horses, or Tazis, upon which account he was surnamed 
Biwurasp ; biwur meaning ten thousand, and asp a horse. 
One day Iblis, the Evil Spirit, appeared to Zohiik in the 
disguise of a good and virtuous man, and conversed with him 
in the most agreeable manner. 

Pleased with his eloquence, the youth 
Suspected not the speaker's truth ; 
But praised the sweet impassioned strain, 
And asked him to discourse again. 

Iblis replied, that he was master of still sweeter converse, 
but he could not address it to him, unless he first entered into 
a solemn compact, and engaged never on any pretence to 
divulge his secret. 

Zohak in perfect innocence of heart 
Assented to the oath, and bound himself 
Never to tell the secret ; all he wished 
Was still to hear the good man's honey words. 

But as soon as the oath was taken, Iblis said to him : " Thy 
father has become old and worthless, and thou art young, and 
wise, and valiant. Let him no longer stand in thy way, but 
kill him ; the robes of sovereignty are ready, and better 
adapted for thce." 


The youili in agony of mind, 

Heard what the stranger now deigned ; 

(Joukl crime like this be understood ! 

The shedding of a parent's blood ! 

Iblis would no excuses hear 

The oath was sworn his death was near. 

" For if thou thiuk'st to pass it by, 

The peril's thine, and thou must die 1 " 

Zohak was terrified and subdued by this warning, and asked 
Iblis in what manner he proposed to sacrifice his father. Iblis 
replied, that he would dig a pit on the path-way which led to 
Mirtiis-Tazi's house of prayer. Accordingly he secretly made 
a deep well upon the spot most convenient for the purpose, and 
covered it over with grass. At night, as the king was going, as 
usual, to the house of prayer, he fell into the pit, and his legs 
and arms being broken by the fall, he shortly expired. 
righteous Heaven ! that father too, whose tenderness would not 
suffer even the winds to blow upon his son too roughly, and 
that son, by the temptation of Iblis, to bring such a father to 
a miserable end ! 

Thus urged to crime, through cruel treachery, 
Zohak usurped his pious father's throne. 

When Iblis found that he had got Zohak completely in his 
power, he told him that, if he followed his counsel and advice 
implicitly, he would become the greatest monarch of the age, 
the sovereign of the seven climes, signifying the whole world. 
Zohak agreed to every thing, and Iblis continued to bestow 
upon him the most devoted attention and flattery for the 
purpose of moulding him entirely to his will. To such an 
extreme degree had his authority attained, that he became 
the sole director even in the royal kitchen, and prepared for 
Zoh;ik the most delicious and savoury food imaginable ; for in 
those days bread and fruit only were the usual articles of food. 
Iblis - himself was the original inventor of the cooking art. 
Zohak was delighted with the dishes, made from every variety 
of bird and four-footed animal. Every day something new 


aiid rare was brought to his tahle, and every day Iblis increased 
in favour. But an egg was to him the most delicate of all ! 
" What can there be superior to this ? " said he. " To- 
morrow," replied Iblis, "thou shalt have something better, 
and of a far superior kind." 

Next day he brought delicious fare, and dressed 
In manner exquisite to please the eye, 
As well as taste ; partridge and pheasant rich, 
A banquet for a prince. Zohak beheld 
Delighted the repast, and eagerly 
Relished its flavour ; then in gratitude, 
And .admiration of the matchless art 
Which thus had ministered to his appetite, 
He cried : " For this, whatever thou desirest, 
And I can give, is thine." Iblis was glad, 
And, little anxious, had but one request 
One unimportant wish it was to kiss 
The monarch's naked shoulder a mere whim. 
And promptly did Zohak comply, for he 
Was unsuspicious still, and stripped himself, 
Ready to gratify that simple wish. 

Iblis then kissed the part with fiendish glee, 
And vanished in an instant. 

From the touch 

Sprang two black serpents ! Then a tumult rose 
Among the people, searching for Iblfs 
Through all the palace, but they sought in vain. 

To young and old it was a marvellous thing ; 
The serpents writhed about as seeking food. 
And learned men to see the wonder came, 
And sage magicians tried to charm away 
That dreadful evil, but no cure was found. 

Some time afterwards Iblis .returned to Zohak, but in the 
shape of a physician, and told him that it was according to his 
own horoscope that he suffered in this manner it was, in short, 
his destiny and that the serpents would continue connected 
with him throughout his life, involving him in perpetual 
misery. Zohdk sunk into despair, upon the assurance of there 
being no remedy for him, but Iblis again roused him by saying, 
that if the serpents Averc fed daily with human brains, which 
would probably kill them, his life might be prolonged, and 
made easy. 

THE SHill NAMEH. 11 

If life has any charm for thce, 

The brain of man their food must be ! 

With the adoption of this deceitful stratagem, Iblis was 
highly pleased, and congratulated himself upon the success of 
his wicked exertions, thinking that in this manner a great 
portion of the human race would be destroyed He was not 
aware that his craft and cunning had no influence in the house 
of God ; and that the descendants of Adam are continually 

When the people of Ird,n and Turau heard that Zoluik kept 
near him two devouring serpents, alarm and terror spread 
everywhere, and so universal was the dread produced by this 
intelligence, that the nobles of Persia were induced to abandon 
their allegiance to Jemshid, and, turning through fear to 
Zohak, confederated with the Arab troops against their own 
country. Jemshid continued for some time to resist their 
efforts, but was at last defeated, and became a wanderer on the 
face of the earth. 

To him existence was a burthen now, 
The world a desert for Zohak had gained 
The imperial crown, and from all acts and de^ds 
Of royal import, razed out the very name 
Of Jemshid hateful in the tyrant's eyes. 


The Persian government having fallen into the hands of the 
usurper, he sent his spies in every direction for the purpose of 
getting possession of Jemshid wherever he might be found, 
but their labour was not crowned with success. The \m- 


fortunate wanderer, after experiencing numberless misfortune?, 
at length took refuge in Zabulisttin. 

Flying from place to place, through wilderness, 
Wide plain, and mountain, veiled from human eyo, 
Hungry and worn out with fatigue and sorrow, 
He came to ZubuL 

The king of Zabulistiin, whose name was Gureng, had a 
daughter of extreme beauty. She was also remarkable for her 
mental endowments, and was familiar with warlike exercises. 

So graceful in her movements, and so sweet, 
Her very look plucked from the breast of ago 
The root of sorrow, her wine-sipping lips, 
And mouth like sugar, checks all dimpled o'er 
With smiles, and glowing as the summer rose 
Won every heart. 

This damsel, possessed of these beauties and charms, was 
accustomed to dress herself in the warlike habiliments of a 
man, and to combat with heroes. She was then only fifteen 
years of age, but so accomplished in valour, judgment, and 
discretion, that Minuchihr, who had in that year commenced 
hostile operations against her father, was compelled to relin- 
quish his pretensions, and submit to the gallantry which she 
displayed on that occasion. Her father's realm was saved by 
her magnanimity. Many kings were her suitors, but Giircng 
would not give his consent to her marriage with any of them. 
He only agreed that she should marry the sovereign whom she 
might spontaneously love. 

It must be love, and love alone,* 
That binds thce to another's throne ; 
In this my father has no voice, 
Thine the election, thine the choice. 

* Love at first sight, and of the most enthusiastic kind, is the passion 
described in all Persian poems, as if a whole life of love were condensed into 
one moment. It is all wild and rapturous. It has nothing of a rational 
cast. A casual glance from an unknown beauty often affords the subject of 
a poem. The poets whom Dr. Johnson has denominated metaphysical, such 


The daughter of Giircng had a Kabul woman for her nurse, 
who was deeply skilled in all sorts of magic and sorcery. 

The old enchantress well could say, 
What would befall on distant day ; 
And by her art omnipotent, 
Could from the watery element 
Draw fire, and with her magic breath, 
.Seal up a dragon's eyes in death. 
Could from the flint-stone conjure dew ; 
The moon and seven stars she knew ; 
And of all things invisible 
To human sight, this crone could tell. 

a* Donne, Jonson, and Cowley, bear a strong resemblance to the Persians on 
the subject of love. 

Xnw, sure, within this twelvemonth past, 
I've loved at least some twenty years or more ; 
Tli' account of love runs much more fast, 
Than that with which our life docs score : 
So, though my life be short, yet I may pri >ve, 
The Great Mcthusalem of love ! II 


The odes of Hafiz also, with all their spirit and richness of expression, abound 
in conceit and extravagant metaphor. There is, however, something very 
beautiful in the passage which may be paraphrased thus : 

Zephyr thro' thy locks is straying, 
Stealing fragrance, charms displaying ; 
Should it pass where Hatiz lies, 
From his conscious dust would riso, 
Flowrets of a thousand dyes ! 

Sir W. Jones, in quoting this distich, seems to have neglected the peculiar 
turn of the thought, and has translated the second line, a hundred thousand 
flowers will spring from the earth that HIDES ft is corse/ But the passage 
implies that even the ashes of the Poet will still retain enough of sensibility 
to be affected by the presence, or by any token, of his beloved. Cowley has 
a similar notion, but he pursues and amplifies it till it becomes ridiculous. 

'Tis well, 'tis well with them, say I, 
Whose short-lived passions with themselves can die ; 

Whatever parts of me remain, 
Those parts will still the love of thce retain ; 

My affection no more perish can, 
Than the first matter that compounds a man ! 

Hereafter, if one dust of me, 

Mix'd with another's substance be ; 
'Twill leaven that whole lump with love of thce t 

Let nature if she please, disperse 
My atoms over all the universe ; 

At the last they easily shall 

Themselves know, and together call ; 
For thy love, like a mark, is stampt on all ! ALL-OVER i ov*. 


This Kabul sorceress had long before intimated to the 
damsel that, conformably with her destiny, which had been 
distinctly ascertained from the motions of the heavenly bodies, 
she would, after a certain time, be married to king Jemshid, 
and bear him a beautiful son. The damsel was overjoyed at 
these tidings, and her father received them with equal pleasure, 
refusing in consequence the solicitations of every other suitor. 
Now according to the prophecy, Jemshid arrived at the city of 
Zabul * in the spring season, when the roses were in bloom ; 
and it so happened that the garden of king Gureng was in the 
way, and also that his daughter was amusing herself at the 
time in the garden. Jemshid proceeded in that direction, but 
the keepers of the garden would not allow him to pass, and 
therefore, fatigued and dispirited, he sat down by the garden- 
door under the shade of a tree. Whilst he was sitting there 
a slave-girl chanced to come out of the garden, and, observing 
him, was surprised at his melancholy and forlorn condition. 
She said to him involuntarily : " Who art thou ? " and Jemshid 
raising up his eyes, replied : " I was once possessed of wealth 
and lived in great affluence, but I am now abandoned by 
fortune, and have come from a distant country. Would to 
heaven I could be blessed with a few cups of wine, my fatigue 
and affliction might then be relieved." The girl smiled, and 
returned hastily to the princess, and told her that a young man, 
wearied with travelling, was sitting at the garden gate, whose 
countenance was more lovely even than that of her mistress, 
and who requested to have a few cups of wine. When the 
damsel heard such high praise of the stranger's features she 

* Zabul, or Zabulistan, the name of a province, bordering on Hindustan, 
which some place in the number of those now composing the country of Sind. 
It abounds in rivers, forests, lakes, and mountains. It was also called 
Rustemdar. The ancient Persians considered Zabulistan and Sistan, or 
Segestan, as one principality, -where llustem usually resided with his family, 
and which they held in appanage from the Kings of Persia. Segestan is the 
Drangiana of the Greeks. It was formerly the residence of many Persian 
Kings. One of its cities, Ghizni. produced the celebrated Mahmud, the 
patron of Firdausi. 


was exceedingly pleased, and said : " He asks only for wine, 
but I will give him both wine and music, and a beautiful 
mistress beside." 

This saying, she repaired towards the gate, 

In motion graceful as the waving cypress, 

Attended by her hand-maid ; seeing him, 

She thought he was a warrior of Iran 

With spreading shoulders, and his loins well bound. 

His visage pale as the pomegranate flower, 

He looked like light in darkness. Warm emotions 

Rose in her heart, and softly thus she spoke : 

" Grief-broken stranger, rest thee underneath 

These shady bowers ; if wine can make thee glad, 

Enter this pleasant place, and drink thy fill." 

Whilst the damsel was still speaking and inviting Jcrnshid 
into the garden, he looked at her thoughtfully, and hesitated ; 
and she said to him : " Why do you hesitate ? I am permitted 
by my father to do what I please, and my heart is my own. 

" Stranger, my father is the monarch mild 
Of Zabulistan. and I his only child ; 
On me is all his fond affection shown ; 
My wish is his, on me he doats alone." 

Jemshid had before heard of the character and renown of 
this extraordinary damsel, yet he was not disposed to comply 
with her entreaty ; but contemplating again her lovely face, his 
heart became enamoured, when she took him by the hand and 
led him along the beautiful walks. 

. With dignity and elegance she passed 
As moves the mountain partridge through the meads ; 
Her tresses richly falling to her feet, 
And filling with perfume the softened breeze. 

In their promenade they arrived at the basin of a fountain, 
near which they seated themselves upon royal carpets, and the 
damsel having placed Jemshid in such a manner that they 
might face each other, she called for music and wine. 


But first the rose-checked handmaids gathered round, 
And washed obsequiously the stranger's feet ; 
Then on the margin of the sih'ery lake 
Attentive sate. 

The youth, after this, readily took the wine and rcfrcshmcn'.s 
which were ordered by the princess. 

Three cups he drank with eager zest,* 

Three cups of ruby wine ; 
Which banished sorrow from his breast, 

For memory left no sign 
Of past affliction ; not a trace 
Remained upon his heart, or smiling face. 

Whilst he was drinking the princess observed his peculiar 
action and elegance of manner, and instantly said in her 
heart : " This must be a king ! " She then offered him some 
more food, as he had come a long journey, and from a distant 
laud, but he only asked for more wine. " Is your fondness for 
wine so great ? " said she. And he replied : " With wine I 
have no enemy ; yet, without it I can be resigned and con- 

* It is not unusual for Firdausf to say "they were all intoxicated!" 
Homer's heroes are more celebrated for eating than drinking, and the bravest 
always had the largest share ! The ancient as well as the modern Persians, 
it appears, were passionately devoted to wine. Some lines which I have 
paraphrased from the Saki-nameh of Hafiz, will show their adoration of it, 
defended by their notions of the uncertainty of life : 

Saki ! ere crar life decline, 
Bring the ruby-tinted wine ; 
Sorrow on my bosom preys, 
Wine alone delights my days ! 
Bring it, let its sweets impart 
Rapture to my fainting heart ; 
Saki ! fill the bumper high 
Why should man unhappy sij;h ? 
Mark the glittering bubbles swim, 
Round the goblet's smiling brim ; 
Now they burst, the chanu is gone I 
Fretful life will soon be done ; 
Jemshid's regal sway is o'er, 
Kai-kobad is now no more. 
Fill the goblet, all mast sevrr. 
Drink the liquid gem for ever ! 
Thou shalt still, in bowers divine, 
Quad the soul-expanding wine ! 


Whilst drinking wine I never see 
The frowning face of my enemy : 
Drink freely of the grape, and nought 
Can give the soul one mournful thought ; 
Wine is a bride of witching power, 
And wisdom is her marriage dower ; 
Wine can the purest joy impart, 
Wine inspires the saddest heart ; 
Wine gives cowards valour's rage, 
Wine gives youth to tottering age ; 
Wine gives vigour to the weak. 
And crimson to the pallid cheek ; 
And dries up sorrow, as the sun 
Absorbs the dew it shines upon." 

From the voice and eloquence of the speaker she now con- 
jectured that this certainly must be king Jemshid, and she felt 
satisfied that her notions would soon be realized. At this 
moment she recollected that there was a picture of Jemshid 
in her father's gallery, and thought of sending for it to com- 
pare the features ; but again she considered that the person 
before her was certainly and truly Jemshid, and that the picture 
would be unnecessary on the occasion. 

It is said that two ring-doves, a male and female, happened 
to alight on the garden wall near the fountain where they were 
sitting, and began billing and cooing in amorous play, so that 
seeing them together in such soft intercourse, blushes over- 
spread the cheeks of the princess, who immediately called for 
her bow and arrows. When they were brought she said to 
Jemshid, "Point out which of them I shall hit, and I will 
bring it to the ground. Jemshid replied : " Where a man is, a 
woman's aid is not required give me the bow, and mark my 
skill ; 

However brave a woman may appear, 
Whatever strength of arm she may possess, 
She is but half a man ! " 

Upon this observation being made, the damsel turned her 
head aside ashamed, and gave him the bow. Her heart was 
full of love. Jemshid took the bow, and selecting a feathered 
arrow out of her hand, said : " Nor for a wager. If I hit 



the female, shall the lady whom I most admire in this company 
be mine ? " The damsel assented. Jemshid drew the string, 
and the arrow struck the female dove so skilfully as to transfix 
both the wings, and pin them together. The male ring-dove 
flew away, but moved by natural affection it soon returned, and 
settled on the same spot as before. The bow was said to be so 
strong that there was not a warrior in the whole kingdom who 

O G 

could even draw the string ; and when the damsel witnessed 
the dexterity of the stranger, and the ease with which he used 
the weapon, she thought within her heart, " There can be no 
necessity for the picture ; I am certain that this can be no 
other than the king Jemshid, the son of Tahumers, called the 
Binder of Demons." Then she took the bow from the hand of 
Jemshid, and observed : " The male bird has returned to its 
former place, if my aim be successful shall the man whom I 
choose in tin's company be my husband ? " Jemshid instantly 
understood her meaning. At that moment the Kabul nurse 
appeared, and the young princess communicated to her all that 
had occurred. The nurse leisurely examined Jemshid from 
head to foot with a slave-purchaser's eye, and knew him, and 
said to her mistress, " All that I saw in thy horoscope and 
foretold, is now in the course of fulfilment. God has brought 
Jemshid hither to be thy spouse. Be not regardless of thy 
good fortune, and the Almighty will bless thee with a son, who 
will be the conqueror of the world. The signs and tokens oi 
thy destiny I have already explained." The damsel had be- 
come greatly enamoured of the person of the stranger before 
she knew who he was, and now being told by her nurse that 
he was Jemshid himself, her affection was augmented two- 

The happy tiding, blissful to her heart, 
Increased the ardour of her love for him. 

And now the picture was brought to the princess, who, 
finding the resemblance exact, put it into Jerashid's hand. 
Jemshid, in secretly recognising his own likeness, was forcibly 


reminded of his past glory and happiness, and lie burst into 


Tlic memory of the diadem and throne 
No longer his, came o'er him, and his soul 
Was rent with anguish. 

The princess said to him : " Why at the commencement "of 
our friendship dost thou weep ? Art thou discontented dis- 
satisfied, unhappy ? and am I the cause ? " Jemshid replied : 
" No, it is simply this ; those who have feeling, and pity the 
sufferings of others, weep involuntarily. I pity the misfortunes 
of Jemshid, driven as he is by adversity from the splendour of 
u throne, and reduced to a state of destitution and ruin. But 
he must now be dead ; devoured, perhaps, by the wolves and 
lions of the forest." The nurse and princess, however, were 
convinced, from the sweetness of his voice and discourse, that 
he could be no other than Jemshid himself, and taking him 
aside, they said : " Speak truly, art thou not Jemshid ? " But 
he denied himself. Again, they observed: "What says this 
picture ? " To this he replied ; " It is not impossible that I 
may be like Jemshid in feature ; for surely there may be in the 
world two men like each other ? " And notwithstanding all 
the efforts made by the damsel and her nurse to induce Jemshid 
to confess, he still resolutely denied himself. Several times she 
assured him she would keep his secret, if he had one, but that 
she was certain of his being Jemshid. Still he denied himself. 
" This nurse of mine, whom thou seest," said she, " has often 
repeated to me the good tidings that I should be united to 
Jemshid, and bear him a son. My heart instinctively acknow- 
ledged thee at first sight : then wherefore this denial of the 
truth ? Many kings have solicited my hand in marriage, but 
all have been rejected, as I am destined to be thine, and united 
to no other." Dismissing now all her attendants, she remained 
with the nurse and Jemshid, and then resumed : 

" How long hath sleep forsaken me ? how long 
Hath my fond heart been kept awake by love / 
Hope still upheld me give me one kind look, 
And 1 will sacrifice my life for thee ; 
Come, take my life, for ifc is thine for ever." 

C 2 


Saying this, the damsel began to weep, and shedding a flood 
of tears, tenderly reproached him for not acknowledging the 
truth. Jenishid was at length moved by her affection and 
sorrow, and thus addressed her : " There are two considera- 
tions which at present prevent the truth being told. One of 
them is my having a powerful enemy, and Heaven forbid that 
he should obtain information of my place of refuge. The 
other is, I never intrust my secrets to a woman ! 

Fortune I dread, since fortune is my foe, 
And womankind are seldom known to keep 
Another's secret. To be poor and safe, 
Is better far than wealth exposed to peril." 
To this the princess : " Is it so decreed, 
That every woman has two tongues, two hearts ? 
All false alike, their tempers all the same ? 
No, no ! could I disloyally betray thee ? 
I who still love thee better than my life .' " 

Jenishid found it impossible to resist the damsel's incessant 
entreaties and persuasive tenderness, mingled as they were with 
tears of sorrow. Vanquished thus by the warmth of her affec- 
tions, he told her his name, and the history of his misfortunes. 
She then ardently seized his hand, overjoyed at the disclosure, 
and taking him privately to her own chamber, they were 
married according to the customs of her country. 

Him to the secret bower with blushing cheek 
Lxultingly she led, and mutual bliss, 
Springing from mutual tenderness and love. 
Entranced their souls. 

When Giireng the king found that his daughter's visits to 
him became less frequent than usual, he set his spies to work, 
and was not long in ascertaining the cause of her continued 
absence. She had married without his permission, and he was 
in great wrath. It happened, too, at this time that the bride 
was pale and in delicate health. 

Tie mystery soon was manifest, 
And thus the king his child addrest, 


Whilst anger darkened o'er his brow : 
" What hast thou done, ungrateful, now ? 
Why hast thou flung, in evil day, 
Thy veil of modesty away 1 
That check the bloom of spring displayed, 
Now all is withered, all decayed ; 
But daughters, as the wise declare, 
Are ever false, if they be fair." 

Incensed at words so sharp and strong, 
The damsel thus repelled the wrong : 
' Me, father, canst thou justly blame ? 
I never, never, brought thee shame ; 
With me can sin and crime accord, 
When Jemshid is my wedded lord .' " 

After this precipitate avowal, the Kabul nurse, of many 
spells, instantly took up her defence, and informed the king 
that the prophecy she had formerly communicated to him was 
on the point of fulfilment, and that the Almighty having, in 
the course of destiny, brought Jemshid into his kingdom, the 
princess, according to the same planetary influence, would 
shortly become a mother. 

And now the damsel grovels on the ground 

Before king Gurcng. " Well thou know'st," she cries, 

" From me no evil comes. Whether in arms, 

Or at the banquet, honour guides me still : 

And well thou know'st thy royal will pronounced 

That I should be unfettered in my choice, 

And free to take the husband I preferred. 

This I have done ; and to the greatest king 

The world can boast, my fortunes are unite- 1, 

To Jemshid, the most perfect of mankind." 

With this explanation the king expressed abundant and 
unusual satisfaction. His satisfaction, however, did not arise 
from the circumstance of the marriage, and the new connection 
it established, but from the opportunity it afforded him of 
betraying Jemshid, and treacherously sending him bound to 
Zohdk, which he intended to do, in the hopes of being mag- 
nificently rewarded. Exulting with this anticipation, he said 
to her smiling : 


Glad tidings thou hast given to me, 
My glory owes its birth to thee ; 
I bless the day, and bless the hour, 
Which placed this Jemshid in my power. 
Now to Zohak, a captive bound, 
I send the wanderer thou hast found ; 
For he who charms the monarch's eyes, 
With this long-sought, this noble prize, 
On solemn word and oath, obtains 
A wealthy kingdom for his pains.'' 

On hearing these cruel words the damsel groaned, and wept 
exceedingly before her father, and said to him : " 0, be not- 
accessory to the murder of such a king ! "Wealth and kingdoms 
pass away, but a bad name remains till the day of doom. 

Turn thee, my father, from this dreadful thought, 

And save his sacred blood : let not thy name 

Be syllabled with horror through the world, 

For such an act as this. When foes are slain, 

It is enough, but keep the sword away 

From friends and kindred ; shun domestic crime. 

Fear him who giveth life, and strength, and power, 

For goodness is most blessed. On the day 

Of judgment thon wilt then be unappalled. 

But if determined to divide us, first 

Smite off this head, and let thy daughter die." 

So deep and violent was the grief of the princess, and her 
lamentations so unceasing, that the father became softened 
into compassion, and, on her account, departed from the resolu- 
tion he had made. He even promised to furnish Jemshid with 
possessions, with treasure, and an army, and requested her to 
give him the consolation he required, adding that he would see 
him in the morning in his garden. 

The heart-altering damsel instant flew 
To tell the welcome tidings to her lord. 

Xext day king Gfireng proceeded to the garden, and had 
an interview with Jemshid, to whom he expressed the warmest 
favour and affection ; but notwithstanding all he said, Jemshid 
could place no confidence in his professions, and was anxious 


to effect his escape. He was, indeed, soon convinced of his 
danger, for he had a private intimation that the king's vizirs 
were consulting together on the expedience of securing his 
person, under the apprehension that Zohak would be invading 
the country, and consigning it to devastation and ruin, if his 
retreat was discovered. He therefore took to flight. 

Jemshid first turned his steps towards Chin, and afterwards 
into Ind. He had travelled a great distance in that beautiful 
country, and one day came to a tower, under whose shadow he 
sought a little repose, for the thoughts of his melancholy and 
disastrous condition kept him almost constantly awake. 

And am I thus to perish ? Thus forlorn, 
To mingle with the dust ? Almighty God ! 
Was ever mortal born to such a fate, 
A fate so sad as mine I that I never 
Had drawn the breath of life, to perish thus ! 

Exhausted by the keenness of his affliction Jemshid at length 
fell asleep. Zoliifr, in the meanwhile, had despatched an envoy, 
with an escort of troops, to the Khakan of Chin, and at that 
moment the cavalcade happened to be passing by the tower 
where Jemshid was reposing. The envoy, attracted to the 
spot, immediately recognized him, and awakening him to a sense 
of this new misfortune, secured the despairing and agonized 
wanderer, and sent him to Zohak. 

He saw a person sleeping on the ground, 
And knew that it was Jemshid. Overjoyed, 
He bound his feet with chains, and mounted him 
Upon a horse, a prisoner. 

What a world ! 

No place of rest for man ! Fix not thy heart, 
Vain mortal ! on this tenement of life, 
On earthly pleasures ; think of Jemshid's fate : 
His glory readied the Heavens, and now this world 
Has bound the valiant monarch's limbs in fetters, 
And placed its justice in the hands of slaves. 

When Zohak received intelligence of the apprehension of his 
enemy, he ordered him to be brought before the throne that he' 
might enjoy the triumph. 


All fixed their gaze upon the captive king, 
Loaded with chains ; his hands behind his back ; 
The ponderous fetters passing from his neck 
Down to his feet ; oppressed with shame he stood, 
Like the narcissus bent with heavy dew. 
Zohak received him with a scornful smile, 
Saying, " Where is thy diadem, thy throne, 
Where is thy kingdom, where thy sovereign rule ; 
Thy laws and royal ordinances where, 
Where are they now ? What change is this that fate 
Has wrought upon thee ? " Jemshid thus rejoined : 
" Unjustly am I brought in chains before thce, 
Betrayed, insulted thou the cause of all, 
And yet thou wouldst appear to feel my wrongs 1 " 
Incensed at this defiance, mixed with scorn, 
Fiercely Zohak replied, " Then choose thy death ; 
Shall I behead thee, stab thce, or impale thee, 
Or with an arrow's point transfix thy heart ! 
What is thy choice ? " 

" Since I am in thy power, 

Do with me what thou wilt why should I dread 
Thy utmost vengeance, why express a wish 
To save my body from a moment's pain ! " 

As soon as Zohiik heard these words he resolved upon a 
horrible deed of vengeance. He ordered two planks to be 
brought, and Jemshid being fastened down between them, his 
body was divided the whole length with a saw, making two 
figures of Jemshid out of one ! 

Why do mankind upon this fleeting world 

Place their affections, wickedness alone 

Is nourished into freshness ; sounds of death, too, 

Are ever on the gale to wear out life. 

My heart is satisfied Heaven 1 no more, 

Free me at once from this continual sorrow. 

It was not long before tidings of the foul proceedings, which 
put an end to the existence of the unfortunate Jemshid. reached 
Ziibulishln. The princess, his wife, on hearing of his fate, 
wasted away with inconsolable grief, and at last took poison to 
unburthen herself of insupportable affliction. 

It is related that Jemshid had two sisters, named Shahrniiz 
and Arnawiiz. They had been both seized, and conveyed to 
Zohiik by his people, and continued in confinement for sonic 


time in the King's harem, but they were afterwards released by 

The tyrant's cruelty and oppression had become intolerable. 
He Avas constantly shedding blood, and committing every species 
of crime. 

The serpents still on human brains were fed, 
And every day two youthful victims bled ; 
The sword, still ready thirsting still to strike, 
Warrior and slave were sacrificed alike. 

The career of Zohak himself, however, was not unvisited by 
terrors. One night he dreamt that he was attacked by three 
warriors ; two of them of large stature, and one of them small. 
The youngest struck him a blow on the head with his mace, 
bound his hands, and casting a rope round his neck, dragged 
him along in the presence of crowds of people. Zohak screamed, 
and sprung up from his sleep in the greatest horror. The 
females of his harem were filled with amazement \\L n ^ ti. 
beheld the terrified countenance of the king, who, in reply 
their inquiries, said, trembling : "This is a dream too div . 
to be concealed." He afterwards called together the Miibids. n ; 
wise men of his court ; and having communicated to t?, m the 
particulars of what had appeared to him in his si" ^, ^' 
manded them to give him a faithful interpretation of the 
dream. The Mubids foresaw in this vision the approaching 
declension of his power and dominion, but were afraid to 
explain their opinions, because they were sure that their lives 
would be sacrificed if the true interpretation was given to him. 
Three days were consumed under the pretence of studying more 
scrupulously all the signs and appearances, and still not one of 
them had courage to speak out. On the fourth day the king 
grew angry, and insisted upon the dream being interpreted. In 
this dilemma, the Mubids said, " Then, if the truth must be 
told, without evasion, thy life approaches to an end, and Feri- 
dun, though yet unborn, will be thy successor." " But who 
was it," enquired Zohuk impatiently, " that struck the blow on 
my head ? " The Mubids declared, with fear and trembling, 


" it was the apparition of Feridun himself, who is destined to 
smite thee on the head." "But why," rejoined Zohiik, "does 
he wish to injure me?" "Because, his father's blood being 
spilt by thee, vengeance falls into his hands." Hearing this 
interpretation of his dream, the king sunk senseless on the 
ground ; and when he recovered, he could neither sleep nor take 
food, but continued overwhelmed with sorrow and misery. The 
light of his day was for ever darkened. 

Abtin was the name of Feridiin's father, and that of his 
mother Faninuk, of the race of Tahumers. Zohak, therefore, 
stimulated to further cruelty by the prophecy, issued an order 
that every person belonging to the family of the Kais, wherever 
found, should be seized and fettered, and brought to him. Abtin 
had long avoided discovery, continuing to reside in the most 
<1 and solitary places ; but one day his usual circumspcc- 
forsook him, and he ventured beyond his limits. This 
iii.nruder.u step was dreadfully punished, for the spies of Zohiik 
i with him, recognized him, and carrying him to the king, 
as immediately put to death. When the mother of 
i'm heard of this sanguinary catastrophe, she took up her 
infant- and fled. It is said that Feridun was at that time only 
Uo months old. In her flight, the mother happened to arrive at 
som* 1 pasturage ground. The keeper of the pasture had a cow 
named Pur'maieh, which yielded abundance of milk, and he 
gave it away in charity. In consequence of the grief and 
distress of mind occasioned by the murder of her husband, 
Faninuk's milk dried up in her breasts, and she was therefore 
under the necessity of feeding the child with the milk from the 
cow. She remained there one night, and would have departed 
in the morning ; but considering the deficiency of milk, and 
the misery in which she was involved, continually afraid of 
being discovered and known, she did not know what to do. At 
length she thought it best to leave Feridun with the keeper of 
the pasture, and resigning him to the protection of God, went 
herself to the mountain Alberz.* The keeper readily complied 

* Alberz is the chain of mountains which divide Ghilan and Hazinder&n 


with the tendi-rcst wishes of the mother, and nourished the 
child with the fondness and affection of a parent during the 
space of three years. After that period had elapsed, deep 
sorrow continuing to afflict the mind of Faranuk, she returned 
secretly to the old man of the pasture, for the purpose of re- 
claiming and conveying Feridun to a safer place of refuge upon 
the mountain Alberz. The keeper said to her : " Why dost 
thou take the child to the mountain ? he will perish there ; " 
but she replied that God Almighty had inspired a feeling in her 
heart that it was necessary to remove him. It was a divine 
inspiration, and verified by the event. 

Intelligence having at length reached Zohak that the son of 
Abtin was nourished and protected by the keeper of the pasture, 
he himself proceeded with a large force to the spot, where he 
put to death the keeper and all his tribe, and also the cow 
which had supplied milk to Feridun, whom he sought for in 

He found the dwelling of his infant- foe. 
And laid it in the dust ; the very ground 
Was punished for the sustenance it gave him. 

The ancient records relate that a dirvesh happened to have 
taken up his abode in the mountain Alberz, and that Faranuk 
committed her infant to his fostering care. The dirvesh gene- 
rously divided with the mother and son all the food and 
comforts \vhich C4od gave him, and at the same time he took 
great pains in storing the mind of Feridun with various kinds 
of knowledge. One day he said to the mother : " The person 
foretold by wise men and astrologers as the destroyer of Zohak 
and his tyranny, is thy son ! 

This child to whom thou gavest birth, 
Will be the monarch of the earth ; " 

from Ir&k. Kai-kobad was llie first king of the dynasty railed Kaianidess 
anil of the race of Feridun. Alberz is also famous for a number of temple, 
of the Magi. 


and the mother, from several concurring indications and signs, 
held a similar conviction. 

When Feridun had attained his sixteenth year, he descended 
from the mountain, and remained for a time on the plain 
beneath. He inquired of his mother why Zohak had put his 
father to death, and Faranuk then told him the melancholy 
story ; upon hearing which, he resolved to be revenged on the 
tyrant. His mother endeavoured to divert him from his deter- 
mination, observing that he was young, friendless, and alone, 
whilst his enemy was the master of the world, and surrounded 
by armies. " Be not therefore precipitate," said she. " If it 
is thy destiny to become a king, wait till the Almighty shall 
bless thee with means sufficient for the purpose." 

Displeased, the youth his mother's caution heard, 
And meditating vengeance on the head 
Of him who robbed him of a father, thus 
Impatiently replied : " 'Tis Heaven inspires me ; 
Led on by Heaven, this arm will quickly bring 
The tyrant from his palace, to the dust/' 
" Imprudent boy ! " the anxious mother said ; 
" Canst thou contend against imperial power ? 
Must I behold thy ruin ? Pause awhile, 
And perish not in this wild enterprize." 

It is recorded that Zohak's dread of Feridun was so great, 
that day by day he became more irritable, wasting away in 
bitterness of spirit, for people of all ranks kept continually 
talking of the young invader, and were daily expecting his 
approach. At last he came, and Zohak was subdued, and his 
power extinguished. 



Zohak having one day summoned together all the nobles and 
philosophers of the kingdom, he said to them : " I find that a 
young enemy has risen up against me ; but notwithstanding 
his tender years, there is no safety even with an apparently 
insignificant foe. I hear, too, that though young, he is distin- 
guished for his prowess and wisdom ; yet I fear not him, but 
the change of fortune. I wish therefore to assemble a large 
army, consisting of Men, Demons, and Peris, that this enemy 
may be surrounded, and conquered. And, further, since a great 
cnterprizc is on the eve of being undertaken, it will be proper 
in future to keep a register or muster-roll of all the people of 
every age in my dominions, and have it revised annually." 
The register, including both old and young, was accordingly 

At that period there lived a man named Kavah, a black- 
smith, remarkably strong and brave, and who had a large 
family. Upon the day on which it fell to the lot of two of his 
children to be killed to feed the serpents, he rose up with 
indignation in presence of the king, and said : 

'Thou art the king, but wherefore on my head 
Cast fire and ashes ? If thou hast the form 
Of hissing dragon, why to me be cruel '/ 
Why give the brains of my beloved children 
As serpent-food, and talk of doing justice ? " 

At this bold speech the monarch was dismayed, 
And scarcely knowing what he did, released " 
The blacksmith's sons. How leapt the father's heart, 
How warmly he embraced his darling boys ! 
But now Zohak directs that Kavah's name 
Shall be inscribed upon the register. 
Soon as the blacksmith sees it written there, 
Wrathful he turns towards the chiefs assembled, 
Exclaiming loud : " Are ye then men, or what, 
Leagued with a Demon ! " All astonished heard, 
And saw him tear the hated register, 
And cast it under foot with rage and scorn 


Kavah having thus reviled the king bitterly, and destroyed 
the register of blood, departed from the court, and took his 
children along with him. After he had gone away, the nobles 
said to the king : 

"Why should reproaches, sovereign of the world, 
Be thus permitted ? Why the royal scroll 
Torn in thy presence, with a look and voice 
Of proud defiance, by the rebel blacksmith I 
So tierce his bearing, that he seems to be 
A bold confederate of this Feridun." 
Zobak replied : " I know not what o'ercame me, 
But when I saw him with such vehemence 
Of grief and wild distraction, strike his forehead, 
Lamenting o'er his children, doomed to de.U Ii. 
Amazement seized my heart, and chained my will. 
What may become of this, Heaven only knows, 
For none can pierce the veil of destiny." 

Kavah, meanwhile, with warning voice set forth 
What wrongs the nation suffered, and there came 
Multitudes round him, who called out aloud 
For justice ! justice ! On his javelin's point 
He fixed his leathern apron for a banner, 
And lifting it on high, he went abroad 
To call the people to a task of vengeance. 
Wherever it was seen crowds followed fast, 
Tired of the cruel tyranny they suffered. 
" Let us unite with Feridun," he cried, 
" And from Zohak's oppression we are free ! " 
And still he called aloud, and all obeyed 
Who heard him, high and low. Anxious he wmght 
For Feridun, not knowing his retreat; 
But still he hoped success would crown his snuvli. 

The hour arrived, and when he saw the yoitih. 
Instinctively he knew him, and thanked Heaven 
For that good fortune. Then the leathern banner 
Was splendidly adorned with gold and jewels. 
And called the flag of Kavah. From that time 
It was a sacred symbol ; every king 
In future, on succeeding to the throne. 
Did honour to that banner, the true sign 
Of royalty, in veneration held. 

Feridun, aided by the directions and advice of the black- 
smith, now proceeded against Zoluik. His mother wept to see 
him depart, and continually implored the blessing of God upon 
him. He had two elder brothers, whom he took along with 


him. Desirous of having a mace formed like the head of a 
cow, he requested Kavah to make one of iron, and it was 
accordingly made in the shape he described. In his progress, 
he visited a shrine or place of pilgrimage frequented by the 
worshippers of God, where he besought inspiration and aid, 
and where he was taught by a radiant personage the mysteries 
of the magic art, receiving from him a key to every secret. 

Bright beamed his eye, with firmer step he strode, 
His smiling cheek with warmer crimson glowed. 

When his two brothers saw his altered mien, the pomp and 
splendour of his appearance, they grew envious of his good 
fortune, and privately meditated his fall. One day they found 
him asleep at the foot of a mountain, and they immediately 
went to the top and rolled down a heavy fragment of rock 
upon him with the intention of crushing him to death ; but 
the clattering noise of the stone ajvokc him, and, instantly 
employing the knowledge of sorcery which had been commu- 
nicated to him, the stone was suddenly arrested by him in 
its course. The brothers beheld this with astonishment, and 
hastening down the mountain, cried aloud : " We know not 
how the stone was loosened from its place : God forbid that 
it should have done any injury to Feridun." Feridun, how- 
ever, was well aware of this being the evil work of his 
brothers, but he took no notice of the conspiracy, and 
instead of punishing them, raised them to higher dignity and 

They say that Kavah directed the route of Feridun over 

the mountainous tracts and plains which lie contiguous to 

the banks of the Dijleh, or Tigris, close to the city of Bagdad. 

reaching that river, they called for boats, but got no 

from the ferryman ; at which Feridun was enraged, and 

immediately plunged, on horseback, into the foaming stream. 

All his army followed without delay, and with the blessing of 

God arrived on the other side in safety. He then turned 

towards the Bait-cl-Mukaddus, built by Zoluik. In the Pahlavi 


language it was called Kunuk-duz-mokt. The tower of this 
edifice was so lofty that it might be seen at the distance of 
many leagues, and within that tower Zohak had formed a talis- 
man of miraculous virtues. Feridiin soon overthrew this 
talisman, and destroyed or vanquished successively with his 
mace all the enchanted monsters and hideous shapes which 
appeared before him. He captured the whole of the building, 
and released all the black-eyed damsels who were secluded 
there, and among them Shahrnaz and Arnawaz, the two sisters 
of Jemshid before alluded to. He then ascended the empty 
throne of Zohak, which had been guarded by the talisman, and 
the Demons tinder his command ; and when he heard that the 
tyrant had gone with an immense army towards Ind, in quest 
of his new enemy, and had left his treasury with only a small 
force at the seat of his government, he rejoiced, and appro- 
priated the throne and the treasure to himself. 

From their dark solitudes the Youth brought forth 
The black-haired damsels, lovely as the sun, 
And Jemshid's sisters, long imprisoned there ; 
And gladly did the inmates of that harem 
Pour out their gratitude on being freed 
From that terrific monster ; thanks to Heaven 
Devoutly they expressed, and ardent joy. 

Feridiin inquired of Arnawaz why Zohak had chosen the 
route towards Ind ; and she replied, " For two reasons : the 
f rst is, he expects to encounter thee in that quarter ; and if he 
fails, he will subdue the whole country, which is the seat of 
sorcery, and thus obtain possession of a renowned magician 
who can charm thee into his power. 

He wishes to secure within his grasp 
That region of enchantment, Hindustan, 
And then obtain relief from what he feels ; 
For night and day the terror of thy name 
Oppresses him, his heart is all on fire, 
And life is torture to him." 



Kandrii, the keeper of the talisman, having effected his 
escape, fled to Zohak, to whom he gave intelligence of the 
release of his women, the destruction of the talisman, and the 
conquest of his empire. 

" The sign of retribution has appeared, 

For sorrow is the fruit of evil deeds." 

Thus Kandru spoke : " Three warriors have advanced 

Upon thy kingdom from a distant land, 

One of them young, and from his air and mien 

He seems to me of the Kaianian race. 

He came, and boldly seized the splendid throne, 

And all thy spells, and sorceries, and magic, 

Were instantly dissolved by higher power, 

And all who dwelt within thy palace walls, 

Demon or man, all utterly destroyed, 

Their severed heads cast weltering on the ground." 

Then was Zohak confounded, and he shrunk 

Within himself with terror, thinking now 

His doom was sealed ; but anxious to appear 

In presence of his army, gay and cheerful, 

Lest they too should despair, he dressed himself 

In rich attire, and with a pleasant look, 

Said carelessly : " Perhaps some gamesome guest 

Hath in his sport committed this strange act." 

" A guest, indeed 1 " Kandru replied, " a guest, 

In playful mood to batter down thy palace ! 

If he had been thy guest, why with his mace, 

Cow-headed, has he done such violence ? 

Why did he penetrate thy secret chambers, 

And bring to light the beautiful Shahrnaz, 

And red-lipped Arnawaz ? " At this, Zohak 

Trembled with wrath the words were death to him , 

And sternly thus he spoke : " What hast thou fled 

T'i rough fear, betraying thy important trust? 

1 longer shalt thou share my confidence, 

longer share my bounty and regard." 
'j . this the keeper tauntingly replied : 
" Thy kingdom is overthrown, and nothing now 
Remains for thee to give me ; thou art lost." 

ie tyrant immediately turned towards his army, with the 

"ion of making a strong effort to regain his throne, but he 

that as soon as the soldiers and the people were made 


acquainted with the proceedings and success of Fcridiin, re- 
bellion arose among them, and shuddering with horror at the 
cruelty exercised by him in providing food for the accursed 
serpents, they preferred embracing the cause of the new king. 
Zohdk, seeing that he had lost the affections of the army, and 
that universal revolt was the consequence, adopted another 
course, and endeavoured alone to be revenged upon his enemy. 
He proceeded on his journey, and arriving by night at the 
camp of Feridun, hoped to find him off his guard and put him 
to death. He ascended a high place, himself unobserved, from 
which he saw Feridun sitting engaged in soft dalliance with the 
lovely Shahrnaz. The fire of jealousy and revenge now consumed 
him more fiercely, and he was attempting to effect his purpose, 
when Feridun was roused by the noise, and starting up struck 
a furious blow with his cow -headed mace upon the temples of 
Zohdk, which crashed the bone, and he was on the point of 
giving him another ; but a supernatural voice whispered in his 

" Slay him not now, his time is not yet come, 

His punishment must be prolonged awhile ; 

And as he cannot now survive the wound, 

Bind him with heavy chains convey him straight 

Upon the mountain, there within a cave, 

Deep, dark, and horrible with none to soothe 

His sufferings, let the murderer lingering die." 
The work of heaven performing, Feridun 

First purified the world from sin and crime. 
Yet Feridun was not an angel, nor 

Composed of musk or ambergris. By justice 

AnJ generosity he gained his fame. 

Do thou but exercise these princely virtues, 

Aud thou wilt be renowned as Feridun. 

THE snin NAMEII. 35 


Feridiin had three sons. One of them was named Silim, the 
other Tur, and the third Irij. When they had grown up, he 
called before him a learned person named Chundel, and said to 
him : " Go thou in quest of three daughters, born of the same 
father and mother, and adorned with every grace and accomplish- 
ment, that I may have my three sons married into one family. 
Chundel departed accordingly, and travelled through many 
countries in fruitless search, till he came to the King of Yemen, 
whose name was Sarii, and found that he had three daughters 
of the character and qualifications required. He therefore 
delivered Feridiin's proposition to him, to which the King of 
Yemen agreed. Then Feridiin sent his three sons to Yemen, 
and they married the three daughters of the king, who 
gave them splendid dowries in treasure and jewels. It is 
related that Feridun afterwards divided his empire among his 
sous. To Silim he gave Rum and Khawer ; to Tur, Tiirau ; * 
and to Irij, Irdn or Persia. The sons then repaired to their 
respective kingdoms. Persia was a beautiful country, and the 
1 i of spring, full of freshness and perfume ; Tiiran, on the 
'ontr:uy, was less cultivated, and the scene of perpetual broils 
... d insurrections. The elder brother, Silim, was therefore 
.ented with the unfair partition of the empire, and dis- 
1 with his father. He sent to Tur, saying : " Our father 

* Ancient Scythia embraced the whole of Turan and the northern part of 
r rsia. Tho Turanians are the Scythians of the Greek Historians, who are 
u.'.', about the year B.C. 639, to have invaded the kingdom of the Medes. 

, which is the ancient name of the country of Turkistan, appears 

cs Guignes, to be the source and fountain of all the celebrated 

' >thian nations, which, under the name of Goths and Vandals, subsequently 

the Roman empire. Iran and Turan, according to the Oriental 

h ended all that is comprised in upper Asia, with the 

a of India and China. Every country beyond the pale of the 

empire was considered barbarous. The great river called by the 

^d Persians, Jihun or Amu, and by the Greeks and Romans, Oxus, 

Uled these two great countries from each other. 

D 2 


has given to Irij the most delightful and productive kingdom, 
and to us, two wild uncultivated regions. I am the eldest son, 
and I am not satisfied with this distribution, what sayest 
thou ? " When this message was communicated to Tiir, he 
fully concurred in the sentiments expressed by his brother, and 
determined to unite with him in any undertaking that might 
promise the accomplishment of their purpose, which was to 
deprive Irij of his dominions. But he thought it would be 
most expedient, in the first instance, to make their father 
acquainted with the dissatisfaction he had produced ; " for," 
he thought to himself, "in a new distribution, he may assign 
Persia to me." Then he wrote to Siliin, advising that a 
messenger should be sent at once to Feridiin to inform him of 
their dissatisfaction, and bring back a reply. The same mes- 
senger was dispatched by Silirn accordingly on that mission, 

Charged with unfilial language. ' ; Give," he said, 
" This stripling Irij a more humble portion, 
Or we will, from the mountains of Tiiran, 
From Rum, and Chin, bring overwhelming troops, 
Inured to wa'r, and sho\ver disgrace and ruin 
On him and Persia.'' 

When the messenger arrived at the court of Feridiin, and had 
obtained permission to appear in the presence of the king, he 
kissed the ground respectfully, and by command related the 
purpose of his journey. Feridun was surprised and displeased, 
and said, in reply : 

" Have I done wrong, done evil ? None, but good. 

I gave ye kingdoms, that was not a crime ; 

But if ye fear not me, at least fear God. 

My ebbing life approaches to an end. 

And the possessions of this fleeting world 

Will soon pass from me. I am grown too old 

To have my passions roused by this rebellion ; 

All I can do is, with paternal love, 

To counsel peace. Be with your lot contented ; 

Seek not unnatural strife, but cherish peace." 

After the departure of the messenger Feridun callul Hj 
before him, and said : " Thy two brothers, who are older tban 


thou art, have confederated together, and threaten to bring a 
large army against thcc for the purpose of seizing thy kingdom, 
and putting thee to death. I have received this information 
from a messenger, who further says, that if I take thy part 
they will also wage war upon me." And after Irij had declared 
that in this extremity he was anxious to do whatever his father 
might advise, Feridun continued : " My son, thou art unable 
to resist the invasion of even one brother ; it will, therefore, 
be impossible for thee to oppose both. I am now aged and 
infirm, and my only wish is to pass the remainder of my days 
in retirement and repose. Better, then, will it be for thee to 
pursue the path of peace and friendship, and like me throw 
away all desire for dominion. 

For if the sword of anger is unsheathed, 
And war comes on, thy head will soon be free t 
From all the cares of government and life. 
There is no cause for thee to quit the world, 
The path of peace and amity is thine." 

Irij agreed with his father, and declared that he would 
willingly sacrifice his throne and diadem rather than go to war 
with his brothers. 

" Look at the Heavens, how they roll on ; 
And look at man. how soon he's gone. 
A breath of wind, and then no more ; 
A world like this, should man deplore f " 

With these sentiments Irij determined to repair immediately 
to his brothers, and place his kingdom at their disposal, hoping 
by this means to merit their favour and affection, and he said : 

" I feel no resentment, I seek not for strife, 
I wish not for thrones and the glories of life ; 
What is glory to man ? an illusion, a cheat ; 
What did it for Jemshid, the world at his feet ? 
When I go to my brothers their anger may cease, 
Though vengeance were fitter than offers of peace." 

Feridun observed to him : " It is well that thy desire is for 


reconciliation, as thy brothers are preparing for war." He then 
wrote a letter to his sons, in which he said : " Your younger 
brother considers your friendship and esteem of more con- 
sequence to him than his crown and throne. He has banished 
from his heart every feeling of resentment against you ; do 
you, in the like manner, cast away hostility from your hearts 
against him. Be kind to him, for it is incumbent upon the 
eldest born to be indulgent and affectionate to their younger 
brothers. Although your consideration for my happiness has 
passed away, I still wish to please you." As soon as the letter 
was finished, Irij mounted his horse, and set off on his journey, 
accompanied by several of his friends, but not in such a manner, 
and with such an equipment, as might betray his rank or 
character. "When he arrived with his attendants in Turkistan, 
he found that the armies of his two brothers were ready to 
march against him. Silim and Tiir, being apprized of the 
approach of Irij, went out of the city, according to ancient 
usage, to meet the deputation which was conveying to them 
their father's letter. Irij was kindly received by them, and 
accommodated in the royal residence. 

It is said that Irij was in person extremely prepossessing, 
and that when the troops first beheld him, they exclaimed : 
" He is indeed fit to be a king ! " In every place all eyes were 
fixed upon him, and wherever he moved he was followed and 
surrounded by the admiring army and crowds of people. 

In numerous groups the soldiers met, and blessed 
The name of Irij, saying in their hearts, 
This is the man to lead an armed host, 
And worthy of the diadem and throne. 

The courtiers of the two brothers, alarmed by these demon- 
strations of attachment to Irij continually before their eyes, 
represented to Silim and Tur that the army was disaffected 
towards them, and that Irij alone was considered deserving of 
the supreme authority. This intimation exasperated the 
malignant spirit of the two brothers : for although at 


determined to put Irij to death, his youth and prepossessing 
appearance had in some degree subdued their animosity. 
They were therefore pleased with the intelligence, because it 
afforded a new and powerful reason for getting rid of him. 
" Look at our troops," said Silim to Tiir, "how they assemble 
in circles together, and betray their admiration of him. I fear 
they will never march against Persia. Indeed it is not im- 
probable that even the kingdom of Tiiran may fall into his 
hands, since the hearts of our soldiers have become so attached 
to him. 

No time is this to deviate from our course. 
"U'c must rush on ; our armies plainly show 
Their love for Irij, and if we should fail 
To root up from its place this flourishing tree, 
Our cause is lost for ever." 

Again, Silim said to Tiir : " Thou must put Irij to death, 
and then his kingdom will bo thine." Tiir readily undertook 
to commie that crime, and, on the following day, at an inter- 
view with Irij, he said to him : " Why didst thou consent to be 
the ruler of Persia, and fail in showing a proper regard for the 
interests of thy elder brothers ? "Whilst our ban-en kingdoms 
are constantly in a state of warfare with the Turks, thou art 
enjoying peace and tranquillity upon the throne of a fruitful 
country ? Must we, thy elder brothers, remain thus under thy 
commands, and in subordinate stations ? 

Must thou have gold and treasure, 
And thy heart be wrapt in pleasure, 
Whilst we, thy elder born, 
Of our heritage are shorn ? 
Must the youngest still be nursed, 
And the elder branches cursed ? 
And condemned, by stern command, 
To a wild and sterile land ? " 

"When Irij heard these words from Tiir, he immediately 
re olicd, saying : 

' I only seek tranquillity and peace ; 
I look not on the crown of sovereignty. 


Nor seek a name among the Persian host ; 

And though the throne and diadem are mine, 

I here renounce them, satisfied to lead 

A private life. For what hath ever been 

The end of earthly power and pomp, but darkness ? 

I seek not to contend against my brothers : 

Why should I grieve their hearts, or give distress 

To any human being ? I am young, 

And Heaven forbid that I should prove unkind ! " 

Notwithstanding, however, these declarations of submission, 
and repeated assurances of his resolution to resign the monarchy 
of Persia, Tiir would not believe one word. In a moment he 
sprung up, and furiously seizing the golden chair from which 
he had just risen, struck a violent blow Avith it on the head of 
Irij, calling aloud, " Bind him, bind him ! " The youth, 
struggling on the ground, exclaimed : " 0, think of thy father, 
and pity me ! Have compassion on thy own soul ! I came for 
thy protection, therefore do not take my life : if thou dost, my 
blood will call out for vengeance to the Almighty. I ask only 
for peace and retirement. Think of my father, and pity me ! 

Wouldst thou, with life endowed, take life away ? 

Torture not the poor ant, which drags the grain 

Along the dust ; it has a life, and life 

Is sweet and precious. Did the innocent ant 

Offend thee ever 1 Cruel must he be 

Who would destroy a living thing so harmless ! 

And wilt thou, reckless, shed thy brother's blood, 

And agonize the feelings of a father ? 

Pause, and avoid the wrath of righteous Heaven I " 

But Tiir was not to be softened by the supplications of his 
brother. Without giving any reply, he drew his dagger, and 
instantly dissevered the head of the youth from his body. 

With musk and ambergris he first embalmed 
The head of Irij, then to his old father 
Dispatched the present with these cruel words : 
" Here. is the head of thy beloved son, 
Thy darling favourite, dress it with a crown 
As thou wert wont ; and mark the goodly fruit 
Thou hast produced. Adorn thy ivory throne, 
In all its splendour, for this worthy head, 
And place it in full majesty before thee 1 " 


In the mean time, Feridiin had prepared a magnificent re- 
ception for his son. The period of his return had arrived, and 
he was in anxious expectation of seeing him, when suddenly he 
received intelligence that Irij had been put to death by his 
brothers. The mournful spectacle soon reached his father's 

A scream of agony burst from his heart, 

As wildly in his arms he clasped the face 

Of his pocr claughtered son ; then down he sank 

Senseless upon the earth. The soldiers round 

Bemoaned the sad catastrophe, and rent 

Their garments in their grief. The souls of all 

Were filled with gloom, their eyes with flowing tears, 

For hope had promised a far different scene ; 

A day of heart-felt mirth and joyfulness, 

When Irij to his father's house returned. 

After the extreme agitation of Feridun had subsided, he 
directed all his people to wear black apparel, in honour of the 
murdered youth, and all his drums and banners to be torn to 
pieces. They say that subsequent to this dreadful calamity he 
always wore black clothes. The head of Irij was buried in a 
favourite garden, where he had been accustomed to hold weekly 
a rural entertainment. Feridun, in performing the last cere- 
mony, pressed it to his bosom, and with streaming eyes ex- 
claimed : 

" Heaven, look down upon my murdered boy ; 
His severed head before me, but his body 
Torn by those hungry wolves ! ) grant my prayer, 
That I may sec, before I die, the seed 
Of Irij hurl just -vengeance on the heads 
' Of his assassins ; hear, hear my prayer." 
Thus he in sorrow for his favourite son 
Obscured the light which might have sparkled still, 
Withering the jasmine flower of happy days ; 
So that his pale existence looked like death. 



Feridun continued to cherish with the fondest affection the 
memory of his murdered son, and still looked forward with 
anxiety to the anticipated hour of retribution. He fervently 
hoped that a son might be born to take vengeance for his 
father's death. But it so happened that Mah-afrid, the wife 
of Irij, gave birth to a daughter. "When this daughter grew 
up, Feridun gave her in marriage to Pishung, and from that 
union an heir was born who in form and feature resembled Irij 
and Feridun. He was called Minuchihr, and great rejoicings 
took place on the occasion of his birth. 

The old man's lips, with smiles apart, 
Bespoke the gladness of his heart. 
And in his arms he took the boy, 
The harbinger of future joy ; 
Delighted that indulgent Heaven 
To his fond hopes this pledge had given. 
It seemed as if, to bless his reign, 
Irij had come to life again. 

The child was nourished with great tenderness during his 
infancy, and when he grew up he was sedulously instructed in 
every art necessary to form the character, and acquire the 
accomplishments of a warrior. Feridun was accustomed to 
place him on the throne, and decorate his brows with the 
crown of sovereignty ; and the soldiers enthusiastically acknow- 
ledged him as their king, urging him to rouse himself and take 
vengeance of his enemies for the murder of his grandfather. 
Having opened his treasury, Feridun distributed abundance of 
gold among the people, so that Minuchihr was in a short time 
enabled to embody an immense army, by whom he was lookc*" 
upon with attachment and admiration. 

When Silim and Tur were informed of the preparations t 1 
were making against them, that Minuchihr, having grow; 
manhood, was distinguished for his valour and intrepidity \ 
that multitudes flocked to his standard with the intent- i < 


forwarding his purpose of revenge, they were seized with inex- 
pressible terror, and anticipated an immediate invasion of their 
kingdoms. Thus alarmed, they counselled together upon the 
course it would be wisest to adopt. 

"Should he advance, his cause is just, 
And blood will mingle with the dust, 
But heaven forbid our power should be 
O'envhelmed to give him victory ; 
Though strong his arm. and wild his ire, 
And vengeance keen his heart inspire." 

They determined, at length, to pursue pacific measures, and 
endeavour by splendid presents and conciliatory language to 
regain the good-will of Feridun. The elephants were immedi- 
ately loaded with treasure, a crown of gold, and other articles 
of value, and a messenger was dispatched, charged with an 
acknowledgment of guilt and abundant expressions of repent- 
ance. " It was Iblis," they said, " who led us astray, and our 
destiny has been such that we are in every way criminal. But 
thou art the ocean of mercy ; pardon our offences. Though 
manifold, they were involuntary, and forgiveness will cleanse 
our hearts and restore us to ourselves. Let our tears wash 
away the faults we have committed. To Minuchihr and to 
thyself we offer obedience and fealty, and we wait your com- 
. aids, being but the dust of your feet." 

"When the messenger arrived at the court of Fcridiin he first 

delivered the magnificent presents, and the king, having placed 

Minuchihr on a golden chair by his side, observed to him, 

These presents are to thee a prosperous and blessed omen 

y shew that thy enemy is afraid of thee." Then the 

ntssenger was permitted to communicate the object- of his 


He spoke with studied phrase, intent to hide, 

Or mitigate the horror of their crime ; 

And with excuses plausible and bland 

His speech was dressed. The brothers, he observed, 

Desired to see their kinsman Minuchihr, 

And with the costliest gems they sought to pay 

The price of kindred blood unjustly shed 


And they would -willingly to him resign 

Their kingdoms for the sake of peace and friendship. 

The monarch marked him scornfully, and said, 
" Canst thou conceal the sun ? It is in vain 
Truth to disguise with words of shallow meaning. 
Now hear my answer. Ask thy cruel masters, 
Who talk of their affection for the prince, 
Where lies the body of the gentle Irij ? 
Him they have slain, the fierce, unnatural brothers, 
And now they thirst to gain another victim. 
They long to sec the face of Minuchihr 1 
Yes, and they shall, surrounded by his soldiers, 
And clad in steel, and they shall feel the edge 
Of life-destroying swords. Yes, they shall see him ! " 

After uttering this indignant speech, Feridiin shewed to the 
messenger his great warriors, one by one. He shewed him 
Kavah and his two sons, Shahpur, and Shiriieh, and Karun, 
and Sain,* and Nariman, and other chiefs all of admirable 
courage and valour in war, and thus resumed : 

" Hence with your presents, hence, away, 

Can gold or gems turn night to day ? 

Must kingly heads be bought and sold, 

And shall I barter blood for gold ? 

Shall gold a father's heart entice, 

Blood to redeem beyond all price ? 

Hence, hence with treachery ; I have heard 

Their globing falsehoods, every word ; 

But human feelings guide my will, 

And keep my honour sacred still. 

True is the oracle we read : 

' Those who have sown oppression's seed 

Reap bitter fruit ; their souls, pcrplcxt, 

Joy not in this world or the next.' 

The brothers of my murdered boy, 

Who could a father's hopes destroy, 

An equal punishment will reap, 

And lasting vengeance o'er them sweep. 

They rooted up my favourite tree, 

But yet a branch remains to me. 

* Sam, Sam Suwar, was the son of Nariman. He is said to have vaii< : ' 

or tamed a great number of animals and terrible monsters, amongst which 
was one remarkable for its ferocity. This furious animal was called Sohatn, 
on account of its being of the colour and nature of fire. Accord 
fabulous history, he made it his war-horse, in all his engagements againit 
the Demons. 


?mv the young lion comes apace, 
The glory of his glorious race ; 
He comes apace, to punish guilt, 
AS' here brother's blood was basely spilt ; 
And blood alone for blood must pay ; 
Hence with your gold, depart, away ! " 

"When the messenger heard these reproaches, mingled with 
poison, he immediately took leave, and trembling with fear, 
returned to Silim and Tur with the utmost speed. He de- 
scribed to them in strong and alarming terms the appearance 
and character of Mimichihr, and his warriors ; of that noble 
youth who with frowning eyebrows was only anxious for battle. 
He then communicated to them in what manner he had been 
received, and repeated the denunciations of Feridun, at which 
the brothers were exceedingly grieved and disappointed. But 
Silim said to Tur : 

" Let us be first upon the field, before 
He marshals his array. It follows not, 
That he should be a hero bold and valiant, 
Because he is descended from the brave ; 
Hut it becomes us well to try our power, 
For speed, in war, is better than delay." 

In this spirit the two brothers rapidly collected from both 
their kingdoms a large army, and proceeded towards Iran. On 
hearing of their progress, Feridun said : " This is well they 
come of themselves. The forest game surrenders itself volun- 
tarily at the foot of the sportsman." Then he commanded his 
army to wait quietly till they arrived ; for skill and patience, 
he observed, will draw the lion's head into your toils. 

As soon as the enemy had approached within a short distance, 
Mimichihr solicited Feridun to commence the engagement, 
and the king having summoned his chief warriors before him, 
appointed them all, one by one, to their proper places. 

The warriors of renown assembled straight 
With ponderous clubs ; each like a lion fierce, 
Girded his loins impatient. In their front 
The sacred banner of the blacksmith waved ; 
Bright scimitars were brandished in the air ; 


Beneath thorn pranced their steeds, all armed for fight, 
And so incased in iron were the chiefs 
From top to toe, their eyes were only seen. 

When Karun drew his hundred thousand troops 
Upon the field, the battle-word was given, 
And Minuchihr was, like the cypress tall, 
Engaged along the centre of the hosts ; 
And like the moon he shone, amid the groups 
Of congregated clouds, or as the sun 
Glittering upon the mountain of Alberz. 
The squadrons in advance Kabad commanded, 
Garshasp the left, and Sam upon the right. 

The shcdders of a brother's blood had now 
Brought their innumerous legions to the strife, 
And formed them in magnificent array : 
The picquet guards were almost thrown together, 
When Tur sprung forward, and with sharp reproach, 
And haughty gesture, thus addressed Kabad : 
" Ask this new king, this Minuchihr, since Heaven 
To Irij gave a daughter, who on him 
Bestowed the mail, the battle-axe, and sword ? " 
To this insulting speech, Kabad replied : 
" The message shall be given, and I will bring 
The answer, too. Ye know what ye have done ; 
Have ye not murdered him who, trusting, sought 
Protection from ye ? All mankind for this 
Must curse your memory till the day of doom ; 
If savage monsters were to fly your presence, 
It would not be surprising. Those who die 
In this most righteous cause will go to Heavcii, 
With all their sins forgotten ! " Then Kabad 
Went to the king, and told the speech of Tur : 
A smile played o'er the cheek of Minuchihr 
As thus he spoke : " A boaster he must be, 
Or a vain fool, for when engaged in battle, 
Vigour of arm and the enduring soul, 
Will best be proved. I ask but for revenge 
Vengeance for Irij slain. Meanwhile, return ; 
We shall not fight to-day." 

He too retired, 

And in his tent upon the sandy plain, 
Ordered the festive board to be prepared, 
And wine and music whiled the hours away. 

"\Vbcn morning dawned the battle commenced, and multi- 
tudes were slain on both sides. 

The spacious plain became a sea of blood ; 
It seemed as if the earth was covered o'er 
With crimson tulips ; slippery was the ground, 
And all in dire confusion. 


The army of Minuchihr was victorious, owing to the 
bravery and skill of the commander. But Heaven was in his 

In the evening Silim and Tur consulted together, and came 
to the resolution of effecting a formidable night attack on the 
enemy. The spies of Minuchihr, however, obtained informa- 
tion of this intention, and communicated the secret to the king. 
Minuchihr immediately placed the army in charge of Karun, 
and took himself thirty thousand men to wait in ambuscade 
for the enemy, and frustrate his views. Tur advanced with a 
hundred thousand men ; but as he advanced, he found every 
one on the alert, and aware of his approach. He had gone too 
far to retreat in the dark without fighting, and therefore began 
a vigorous conflict. Minuchihr sprung up from his ambuscade, 
and with his thirty thousand men rushed upon the centre of 
the enemy's troops, and in the end encountered Tur. The 
struggle was not long. Minuchihr dexterously using his 
javelin, hurled him from his saddle precipitately to the ground, 
and then with his dagger severed the head from his body. The 
body he left to be devoured by the beasts of the field, and the 
head he sent as a trophy to Feridun ; after which, he proceeded 
in search of Silim. 

The army of the confederates, however, having suffered such 
a signal defeat, Silim thought it prudent to fall back and take 
refuge in a fort. But Miniichihr went in pursuit, and besieged 
the castle. One day a warrior named Kaku made a sally out 
of the fort, and approaching the centre of the besieging army, 
threw a javelin at Minuchihr, which however fell harmless 
before it reached its aim. Then Miniichihr seized the enemy 
by the girdle, raised him up in air, and flung him from his 
saddle to the ground. 

lie grasped the foe-man by the girth, 
And thundering drove him to the earth ; 
By wound of spear, and gory brand, 
He died upon the burning sand. 

The siege was continued for some time with the view of 


weakening the power of Silim ; at last Minuchihr sent a 
message to him, saying : " Let the battle be decided between 
ns. Quit the fort, and boldly meet me here, that it may be 
seen to whom God gives the victory." Silim could not, without 
disgrace, refuse this challenge : he descended from the fort, 
and met Mimichihr. A desperate conflict ensued, and he was 
slain on the spot. Minuchihr's keen sword severed the royal 
head from the body, and thus quickly ended the career of Silim. 
After that, the whole of the enemy's troops were defeated and 
put to flight in every direction. 

The leading warriors of the routed army now sought protec- 
tion from Minuchihr, who immediately complied with their 
solicitation, and by their influence all the forces of Silim and 
TUT united under him. To each he gave rank according to 
his merits. After the victory, Minuchihr hastened to pay his 
respects to Feridun, who received him with praises and thanks- 
givings, and the customary honours. Returning from the 
battle, Feridun met him on foot ; and the moment Minuchihr 
beheld the venerable monarch, he alighted and kissed the 
ground. They then, seated in the palace together, congratu- 
lated themselves on the success of their arms. In a short time 
after, the end of Feridun approached ; when recommending 
Minuchihr to the care of Sam and Narimun, he said : " My 
hour of departure has arrived, and I place the prince under 
your protection." He then directed Minuchihr to be seated on 

the throne ; 

And put himself the crown upon his head, 

And stored his mind with counsel good and wise. 

Upon the death of Feridun, Minuchihr accordingly suc- 
ceeded to the government of the empire, and continued to 
observe strictly all the laws and regulations of his great grand- 
father. He commanded his subjects to be constant in the 
worship of God. 

The army and the people gave him praise, 
Prayed for his happiness and length of days ; 
Our hearts, they said, arc ever bound to theo ; 
Our hearts, inspired by love and loyalty 



According to the traditionary histories from which Firdausi 
has derived his legends, the warrior Sam had a son born to 
him whose hair was perfectly white. On his birth the nurse 
went to Sam and told him that God had blessed him with a 
wonderful child, without a single blemish, excepting that his 
hair was white ; but when Sam saw him he was grieved : 

His hair was white as goose's wing, 
His check was like the rose of spring 
His form was straight as cypress tree 
But when the sire was brought to see 
That child with hair so silvery white, 
His heart revolted at the sight. 

His mother gave him the name of Zal, and the people said 
to Sam, " This is an ominous event, and will be to thee pro- 
ductive of nothing but calamity ; it would be better if thou 
couldst remove him out of sight. 

No human being of this earth 
Could give to such a monster birth ; 
He must be of the Demon race, 
Though human still in form and face. 
If not a Demon, he, at least, 
Appears a party-coloured beast." 

When Sam was made acquainted with these reproaches and 
3ers of the people, he determined, though with a sorrowful 
art, to take him up to the mountain Alberz, and abandon 
m there to be destroyed by beasts of prey. Alberz was the 
>ode of the Simurgh or Griffin,* and, whilst flying about in 
lest of food for his hungry young ones, that surprising animal 

; The sex of this fabulous animal is not clearly made out ! It tells Zal that 
ad nursed him like & father, and therefore I have, in this place, adopted tho 
culine gender, though the preserver of young ones might authorise its being 
idered a female. The Simurgh is probably neither one nor the other, or 
! Some have likened the Simurgh to the Ippogrif or Griffin ; but the 
i irgh is plainly a biped ; others again have supposed that the fable simply 
t a holy recluse of the mountains, who nourished and educated the poor 
which had been abandoned by its father. 


discovered the child lying alone upon the hard rock, crying and 
sucking its fingers. The Simurgh, however, felt no inclination 
to devour him, but compassionately took him up in the air, and 
conveyed him to his own habitation. 

He who is blest with Heaven's grace 
Will never want a dwelling-place 
And he who bears the curse of Fate 
Can never change his wretched state. 
A voice, not earthly, thus addressed 
The Simurgh in his mountain nest 
" To thee this mortal I resign, 
Protected by the power divine ; 
Let him thy fostering kindness share, 
Nourish him with paternal care ; 
For from his loins, in time, will spring 
The champion of the world, and bring 
Honour on earth, and to thy name ; 
The heir of everlasting fame." 

The young ones were also kind and affectionate to the infant, 
which was thus nourished and protected by the Simurgh for 
several years. 


It is said that one night, after melancholy musings and re- 
flecting on the miseries of this life, Sam was \i-ited by a 
dream, and when the particulars of it were con- unicated to 
the interpreters of mysterious warnings and omens, they de- 
clared that Zal was certainly still alive, although he had been 
long exposed on Alberz, and left there to be torn to oieces Iv 
animals. Upon this interpretation being givei the natural 
feelings of the father returned, and he sent his peop'.o to the 
mountain in search of Zal, but without success. On another 
night Siim dreamt a second time, when he beheld a young man 


of a beautiful countenance at the head of an immense army, 
with a banner flying before him, and a Miibid on his left hand. 
One of them addressed Sam, and reproached him thus : 

Unfeeling mortal, hast thou from thy eyes 

Washed out all sense of shame ? Dost thou believe 

That to have silvery tresses is a crime ? 

If so, thy head is covered with white hair ; 

And were not both spontaneous gifts from Heaven 1 

Although the boy was hateful to thy sight, 

The grace of God has been bestowed upon him ; 

And what is human tenderness and love 

To Heaven's protection ? Thou to him wert cruel, 

But Heaven has blest him, shielding him from harm. 

Sam screamed aloud in his sleep, and awoke greatly terrified. 
Without delay he went himself to Alberz, and ascended the 
mountain, and wept and prayed before the throne of the 
Almighty, saying : 

" If that forsaken child be truly mine, 
And not the progeny of Demon fell, 
O pity me ! forgive the wicked deed, 
And to my eyes, my injured son restore." 

His prayer was accepted. The Simurgh, hearing the lamenta- 
tions of Sam among his people, knew that he had come in quest 
of his son, and thus said to Zal : " I have fed and protected 
thee like a kind nurse, and I have given thee the name of 
Dustan, like a father. Sam, the warrior, has just come upon 
the mountain in search of his child, and I must restore thee to 
him, and we must part." Zal wept when he heard of this un- 
expected separation, and in strong terms expressed his grati- 
tude to his benefactor ; for the Wonderful Bird had not 
omitted to teach him the language of the country, and to culti- 
vate his understanding, removed as they were to such a dis- 
tance from the haunts of mankind. The Simurgh soothed 
him by assuring him that he was not going to abandon him to 
nisfortune, but to increase his prosperity ; and, as a striking 
proof of affection, gave him a feather from his own wing, with 

E 2 


these instructions : " Whenever thou art involved in difficulty 
or danger, put this feather on the fire, and I will instantly 
appear to thec to ensure thy safety. Never cease to remember 

I have watched thee with fondness by day and by night, 
And supplied all thy wants with a father's delight ; 
forget not thy nurse still be faithful to me 
And my heart will be ever devoted to thee." 

Zal immediately replied in a strain of gratitude and admira- 
tion ; and then the Simurgh conveyed him to Sam, and said to 
him : " Eeceive thy son he is of wonderful promise, and will 
be worthy of the throne and the diadem." 

The soul of Sam rejoiced to hear 
Applause so sweet to a parent's ear ; 
And blessed them both in thought and word, 
The lovely boy, and the Wondrous Bird. 

He also declared to Zal that he was ashamed of the crime of 
which he had been guilty, and that he would endeavour to 
obliterate the recollection of the past by treating him in future 
with the utmost respect and honour. 

When Minuchihr heard from Zabul of these things, and of 
Sam's return, he was exceedingly pleased, and ordered his son, 
Naiider, with a splendid istakbal,* to meet the father and ROU 
on their approach to the city. They were surrounded by * ir- 

* This custom is derived from the earliest ages of Persia, and has >>2en 
continued down to the present times with no abatement of its por ; or 
splendour. Mr. Morier thus speaks of the progress of the Embassy to Per?, i : 

" An Istakbal composed of fifty horsemen of our Mehmandar's tribe -met 
us about three miles from our encampment ; they were succe;dfd ,- v - c 
advanced by an assemblage on foot, who threw a gloss vessel filled with i veet- 
meats beneath the Envoy's horse, a ceremony which we had before witi ;ssed 
at Kauzeroon, and which we again understood to be an honour shared wji i the 
King and his sons alone. Then came two of the principal meroha: ts of 
Sliiraz, accompanied by a boy, the son of Mahomed Nebee Khan, th< neir 
Governor of Bushere. They, however, incurred the Envoy's displeasi re by 
not dismounting from their horses, a form always observed in Persia by 
of lower rank, when they meet a superior. We were thus met by three' 
Istakbdh during the course of the day." 


riors and great men, and Stim embraced the first moment to 
introduce Zal to the king. 

Z:il humbly kissed the earth before the king, 

And from the hands of Minuchihr received 

A golden mace and helm. Then those who knew 

The stars and planetary signs, were told 

To calculate the stripling's destiny ; 

And all proclaimed him of exalted fortune, 

That he would be prodigious in his might, 

Outshining every warrior of the age. 

Delighted with this information, Minuchihr, seated upon his 
throne, with Karun on one side and Sam on the other, pre- 
sented Zal with Arabian horses, and armour, and gold, and 
splendid garments, and appointed Sam to the government of 
Kabul, Zabul, and Ind. Zal accompanied his father on his 
return ; and when they arrived at Zabulistdn, the most re- 
nowned instructors in every art and science were collected to- 
gether to cultivate and enrich his young mind. 

In the meantime Siim was commanded by the king to invade 
and subdue the Demon provinces of Karugsar and Mazin- 
denin ; * and Z<il was in consequence left by his father in 
charge of Zabulistan. The young nursling of the Simurgh is 
said to have performed the duties of sovereignty with admir- 
able wisdom and discretion, during the absence of his father. 
He did not pass his time in idle exercises, but with zealous 
delight in the society of accomplished and learned men, for the 
purpose of becoming familiar with every species of knowledge 
and acquirement. The city of Zilbul, however, as a constant 
reside!. -. ad not entirely satisfy him, and he wished to see 
more of tli-.; world ; he therefore visited several other places, 
and proceeded as far as Kdbul, where he pitched his tents, and 
remained for some time. 

* The province of Mazinder&n, of which the principal city is Amol, compre- 
hends the whol<j of the southern coast of the Caspian sea. It was known to 
the ancients ! the name of Hyrcania. At the period to which the text 
refers, the country was in the possession of demons. 



The chief of Kabul was descended from the family of Zohak. 
He was named Mihrjib, and to secure the safety of his state, 
paid annual tribute to Sum. Mihrab, on the arrival of Zal, 
went out of the city to see him, and was hospitably entertained 
by the young hero, who soon discovered that he had a daughter 
of wonderful attractions. 

Her name Rudabeh ; skreened from public view, 

Her countenance is brilliant as the sun ; 

From head to foot her lovely form is fair 

As polished ivory. Like the spring, her cheek 

Presents a radiant bloom, in stature tall, 

And o'er her silvery brightness, richly flow 

Dark musky ringlets clustering to her feet. 

She blushes like the rich pomegranate flower; 

Her eyes are soft and sweet as the narcissus, 

Her lashes from the raven's jetty plume 

Have stolen their blackness, and her brows are bent 

Like archer's bow. Ask ye to see the moon ? 

Look at her face. Seek ye for musky fragrance ? 

She is all sweetness. Her long fingers seem 

Pencils of silver, and so beautiful 

Her presence, that she breathes of Heaven and love. 

Such was the description of Rudabeh,* which inspired the 

* Firdausiis very exuberant in his account of Rudabeh. Female beauty lias 
always been a darling subject with the poets of all nations, and they Lave 
generally embellished it with all their powers of description. 

In comparing the Greek and Persian notions of female beauty and its 
attributes, we find no important disparity, but a much closer resemblance 
than might be expected, considering the physical difference between the two 
countries. For the imagery of every genuine poet must be derived from 
what be is accustomed to see, from the natural objects and circumstances by 
which he is surrounded. Hence it is that every country must have what 
Dr. Johnson calls, " traditional imagery, and hereditary similes." The Odea 
of Hafiz have all the rich imagery of the Teian bard, besides an abundance o.f 
beautiful epithets, unknown to the Greek, drawn from the varied productions! 
of a still more genial climate. 

The following is a fuller description of the charms of B iileh : 

If thou would'st make her charms a r 
Tliiuk of the Sun so bright and clear 


heart of Zal with the most violent affection, and mv;;; 
added to her charms. 

Mihrab again waited on Zal, who received him graciously, 
and asked him in what manner he could promote his wishes. 
Mihriib said that he only desired him to become his guest at a 
banquet he intended to invite him to ; but Zal thought proper 
to refuse, because he well knew, if he accepted an invitation of 
the kind from a relation of Zoluik, that his father Sam and the 
King of Persia would be offended. Mihrab returned to Kabul 
disappointed, and having gone into his harem, his wife, Sin- 
dokht, inquired after the stranger from Zubul, the white-headed 
son of Sam. She wished to know what he was like, in form 
and feature, and what account he gave of his sojourn with the 
Simurgh. Mihrab described him in the warmest terms of ad- 
miration he was valiant, he said, accomplished and handsome, 
with no other defect than that of white hair. And so bound- 
less was his praise, that Riidabeh, who was present, drank every 
word with avidity, and felt her own heart warmed into admira- 

And brighter far, with softer light, 
The maiden strikes the dazzled sight. 
Think of her skin, with what compare I 
Ivory was never half so fair ! 
Her stature like the Sabin tree ; 
Her eyes ! so full of witchery, 
Glow like the Nirgis * tenderly. 
Her arching brows their magic fling, 
Dark as the raven's glossy wing. 
Soft o'er her blooming cheek is spread, 
The rich pomegranate's vivid red. 
Upon her bosom, white as snow, 
Two vennil buds, in secret, blow. 
Her musky ringlets, nnconfined, 
In clustering meshes roll behind. 
Love ye the moon ? Behold her face, 
And there the lucid planet trace. 
If breath of musky fragrance please, 
Her balmy odours scent the breeze ; 
I'us^'d of every sportive wile, 
Tis heaven, 'tis bliss, to see her smile ! 

This imagery is all familiar to European taste, not excepting even tho 
usion to the moon, which has usually been considered peculiar to the Poetry 

* The Narcissus, to which the eyes of beautiful women are usually compared. 


I love. Full of emotion, she afterwards said privately 
to h attendants : 

'' 10 you alone the secret of my heart 

I now unic'.cl ; to you alone confess 

The deep sensations of my captive soul. 

I love, I love ; all day and night of him 

I think alone I see him in my dreams 

You only know my secret aid me now, 

And soothe the sorrows of my bursting heart." 

The attendants were startled with this confession and in- 
treaty, and ventured to remonstrate against so preposterous an 

" What 1 hast thou lost all sense of shame, 

All value for thy honoured name ! 

That thou, in loveliness supreme, 

Of every tongue the constant theme. 

Should choose, and on another's word, 

The nursling of a Mountain Bird 1 

A being never seen before, 

Which human mother never bore 1 

And can the hoary locks of age, 

A youthful heart like thine engage ? 

Must thy enchanting form be prest 

To such a dubious monster's breast 1 

And all thy beauty's rich array, 

Thy peerless charms be thrown away ? " 

This violent remonstrance was more calculated to rouse (he 
indignation of Rudabeh than to induce her to change her mi ml. 
It did so. But she subdued her resentment, and again dwelt 
rpon the ardour of her passion. 

" My attachment is fixed, my election is made, 
And when hearts are enchained 'tis in vain to upbraid 
Neither Kizar nor Faghfiir I wish to behold. 
Nor the monarch of Persia with jewels and gold ; 
All, all I despise, save the choice of my heart, 
And from his beloved image I never can part. 
Call him aged, or young, 'tis a fruitless endeavour 
To uproot a desire I must cherish for ever ; 
Call him old, call him young, who can passion controul ' 
Ever present, and loved, he entrances my soul. 
'Tis for him I exist him I worship alone, 
And my heart it must bleed till I call him my own.' 


As soon as the attendants found that Riidabeh's attachment 
was deeply fixed, and not to be removed, they changed their 
purpose, and became obedient to her wishes, anxious to pursue 
any measure that might bring Zal and their mistress together. 
Rudiibeh was delighted with this proof of their regard. 

It was spring time, and the attendants repaired towards the 
halting-place of Zal, in the neighbourhood of the city. Their 
occupation seemed to be gathering roses along the romantic 
banks of a pellucid streamlet, and when they purposely strayed 
opposite the tent of Zal, he observed them, and asked his 
friends why they presumed to gather roses in his garden. 
He was told that they were damsels sent by the moon of 
Kabulistan from the palace of Mihrab to gather roses, and 
upon hearing this his heart was touched with emotion. He 
rose up and rambled about for amusement, keeping the direc- 
tion of the river, followed by a servant with a bow. He was 
not far from the damsels, when a bird sprung up from the 
water, which he shot, upon the wing, with an arrow. The 
bird happened to fall near the rose-gatherers, and Zal ordered 
his servant to bring it to him. The attendants of Rudabeh 
lost not the opportunity, as he approached them, to inquire 
who the archer was. " Know ye not," answered the servant, 
" that this is Nirnruz, the son of Sam, and also called Dustan, 
the greatest warrior ever known." At this the damsels smiled, 
and said that they too belonged to a person of distinction and 
not of inferior worth to a star in the palace of Mihrab. " We 
have come from Kabul to the king of Zabulistan, and should 
Zal and Rudabeh be of equal rank, her ruby lips may become 
acquainted with his, and their wished-for union be effected." 
When the servant returned, Zal was immediately informed of 
the conversation that had taken place, and in consequence pre- 
sents were prepared. 

They who to gather roses came went back 
With precious gems and honorary robes ; 
And two bright finger-rings were secretly 
Sent to the princess. 


Then did the attendants of Riidtlbeh exult in the success of 
their artifice, and say that the lion had come into their toils. 
Kiidiibeh herself, however, had some fears on the subject. She 
anxiously sought to know exactly the personal appearance of 
Zal, and happily her warmest hopes were realized by the de- 
scription she received. But one difficulty remained how were 
they to meet ? How Avas she to see with her own eyes the man 
whom her fancy had depicted in such glowing colours ? Her 
attendants, sufficiently expert at intrigue, soon contrived the 
means of gratifying her wishes. There was a beautiful rural 
retreat in a sequestered situation, the apartments of which were 
adorned with pictures of great men, and ornamented in the 
most splendid manner. To this favourite place Rudabeh re- 
tired, and most magnificently dressed, awaiting the coming of 
Ziil. whom her attendants had previously invited to repair 
thither as soon as the sun had gone down. The shadows of 
evening were falling as he approached, and the enamoured 
princess thus addressed him from her balcony : 

" May happiness attend thee ever, thou, 
Whose lucid features make this gloomy night 
Clear as the day ; whose perfume scents the breeze ; 
Thou who, regardless of fatigue, hast come 
On foot too, thus to see me " 

Hearing a sweet voice, he looked up, and beheld a bright face 
in the balcony, and he said to the beautiful vision : 

" How often have I hoped that Heaven 

Would, in some secret place display 
Thy charms to me, and thou hast given 

My heart the wish of many a day ; 
For now thy gentle voice I hear, 

And now I see thee speak again ! 
Speak freely in a willing ear, 

And every wish thou hast obtain." 

Not a word was lost upon Kiiddbeh, and she soon accom- 
plished her object. Her hair was so luxuriant, and of such a 
length, that casting it loose it flowed clown from the balcony ; 


and, after fastening the upper part to a ring, she requested Ziil 
to take hold of the other end and mount up. lie ardently 
kissed the musky tresses, and by them quickly ascended. 

Then hand in hand within the chambers they 
Gracefully passed. Attractive was the scene, 
The walls embellished by the painter's skill, 
And every object exquisitely formed, 
Sculpture, and architectural ornament, 
Fit for a king. Zdl with amazement gazed 
Upon what art had done, but more he gazed 
Upon the witching radiance of his love, 
Upon her tulip cheeks, her musky locks, 
Breatting the sweetness of a summer garden ; 
Upon the sparkling brightness of her rings, 
Necklace, and bracelets, glittering on her arms. 
His mien too was majestic on his head 
He wore a ruby crown, and near his breast 
Was seen a belted dagger. Fondly she 
With side-long glances marked his noble aspect, 
The fine proportions of his graceful limbs, 
His strength and beauty. Her enamoured heart 
Suffused her cheek with blushes, every glance 
Increas'd the ardent transports of her soul. 
So mild was his demeanour, he appeared 
A gentle lion toying with his prey. 
Long they remained rapt in admiration 
Of each other. At length the warrior rose, 
And thus addressed her : " It becomes not us 
To be forgetful of the path of prudence, 
Though love would dictate a more ardent course, 
How oft has Sam. my father, counselled me, 
Against unseeming thoughts, unseemly deeds, 
Always to choose the right, and shun the wrong. 
How will he burn with anger when he hears 
This new adventure ; how will Miniichihr 
Indignantly reproach me for this dream ! 
This waking dream of rapture ! but I call 
High Heaven to witness what I now declare 
Whoever may oppose my sacred vows, 
I still am thine, affianced thine, for ever." 

And thus Rudabeh : " Thou hast won my heart, 
And kings may sue in vain ; to thee devoted, 
Thou art alone my warrior and my love." 
Thus they exclaimed, then Zal with fond adieus 
Softly descended from the balcony, 
And hastened to his tent. 

As speedily as possible he assembled together his counsellors 
and Miibids to obtain their advice on the present extraordinary 


occasion, and he represented to them the sacred importance of 
encouraging matrimonial alliances. 

For marriage is a contract sealed by Heaven 
How happy is the Warrior's lot, amidst 
His smiling children ; when he dies, his son 
Succeeds him, and enjoys his rank and name. 
And is it not a glorious thing to sny 
This is the son of Zal, or this of Sam, 
The heir of his renowned progenitor ? 

He then related to them the story of his love and affection 
for the daughter of Mihrab ; but the Miibids, well knowing 
that the chief of Kabul was of the family of Zolulk, the serpent- 
king, did not approve the union desired, which excited the 
indignation of Zal. They, however, recommended his writing 
a letter to Sam, who might, if he thought proper, refer the 
matter to "Mimichihr. The letter was accordingly written and 
dispatched, and when Sam received it, he immediately referred 
the question to his astrologers, to know whether the nuptials, if 
solemnized between Zal and Rudiibeh, would be prosperous or 
not. They foretold that the nuptials would be prosperous, and 
that the issue would be a son of wonderful strength and power, 
the conqueror of the world. This announcement delighted the 
heart of the old warrior, and he sent the messenger back with 
the assurance of his approbation of the proposed union, but 
requested that the subject might be kept concealed till he 
returned with his army from the expedition to Karugsar, and 
was able to consult with Mimichihr. 

Zal, exulting at his success, communicated the glad tidings 
to KmLibeh by their female emissary, who had hitherto carried 
on successfully the correspondence between them. But as she 
was conveying an answer to this welcome news, and some pre- 
sents to Zal, Sindokht, the mother of Rudabeh, detected her, 
and, examining the contents of the packet, she found sufficient 
evidence, she thought, of something wrong. 

" What treachery is this ? What have we here ! 
Sfrbund and male attire ! Thou, wretch, confess ! 
Disclose thy secret doings.' 1 


The emissary, however, betrayed nothing ; but declared that 
she was a dealer in jewels and dresses, and had been only 
shewing her merchandize to Riidabeh. Sindokht, in extreme 
agitation of mind, hastened to her daughter's apartment to 
ascertain the particulars of this affair, when Riidabeh at once 
fearlessly acknowledged her unalterable affection for Zal. 

" I love him so devotedly, all day, 
All night my tears have flowed unceasingly ; 
And one hair of his head I prize more dearly 
Than all the world beside ; for him I live ; 
And we have met, and we have sat together, 
And pledged our mutual love with mutual joy 
And innocence of heart." 

Rudabch further informed her of Sam's consent to their 
nuptials, which in some degree satisfied the mother. But when 
Mihrab was made acquainted with the arrangement, his rage 
was unbounded, for he dreaded the resentment of Sam and 
Minuchihr when the circumstances became fully known to 
them. Trembling with indignation he drew his dagger, and 
would have instantly rushed to Rudabeh's chamber to destroy 
her, had not Sindokht Mien at his feet and restrained him. 
He insisted, however, on her being brought before him ; and 
upon his promise not to do her any harm, Sindokht complied. 
Riidabeh disdained to take off her ornaments to appear as an 
offender and a supplicant, but, proud of her choice, went into 
her father's presence, gaily adorned with jewels, and in splendid 
apparel. Mihrab received her with surprise. 

" Why all this glittering finery ? Is the devil 
United to an angel 1 When a snake 
Is met with in Arabia, it is killed 1 " 

But Rudabeh answered not a word, and was permitted to retire 
with her mother. 

When Minuchihr was apprized of the proceedings between 
Zal and Rudabeh, he was deeply concerned, anticipating nothing 
but confusion and ruin to Persia from the united influence of 
Zal and Mihrab. Feridtm had purified the world from the 


abominations of Zohak, and as Mihrab was a descendant of 
that merciless tyrant, he feared that some attempt would be 
made to resume the enormities of former times : Sam was 
therefore required to give his advice on the occasion. 

The conqueror of Karugsar and Mazinderan was received on 
his return with cordial rejoicings, and he charmed the Icing 
with the story of his triumphant success. The monarch against 
whom he had fought was descended, on the mother's side, from 
Zohak, and his Demon army was more numerous than ants, or 
clouds of locusts, covering mountain and plain. Sam thus pro- 
ceeded in his description of the conflict. 

" And when he heard my voice, and saw what deeds 

I had performed, approaching me, he threw 

His noose ; but downward bending I escaped, 

And with my bow I showered upon his head 

Steel-pointed arrows, piercing through the brain ; 

Then did I grasp his loins, and from his horse 

Cast him upon the ground, deprived of life. 

At this, the demons terrified and pale, 

Shrunk back, some flying to the mountain wilds, 

And others, taken on the battle-field, 

Became obedient to the Persian king." 

Minuchihr, gratified by this result of the expedition, ap- 
pointed Sam to a new enterprise, which was to destroy Kabul 
by fire and sword, especially the house of Mihrab ; and that 
ruler, of the serpent-race, and all his adherents were to be put 
to death. Sam, before he took leave to return to his own 
government at Zabul, tried to dissuade him from this violent 
exercise of revenge, but without making any sensible impression 
upon him. 

Meanwhile the vindictive intentions of Minuchihr, which 
were soon known at Kabul, produced the greatest alarm and 
consternation in the family of Mihrab. Zal now returned to 
his father, and Sam sent a letter to Minuchihr, again to 
deprecate his wrath, and appointed Zal the messenger. In this 
letter Sam enumerates bis services at Karugsar and Mazinderan, 
and especially dwells upon the destruction of a prodigious 


" I am thy servant, and twice sixty years 
Have seen my prowess. Mounted on my steed, 
Wielding my battle-axe, o'erthrowing heroes, 
Who equals Sam, the warrior ? I destroyed 
The mighty monster, whose devouring jaws 
Unpeopled half the land, and spread dismay 
From town to town. The world was full of horror, 
No bird was seen in air, no beast of prey 
In plain or forest ; from the stream he drew 
The crocodile ; the eagle from the sky. 
The country had no habitant alive, 
And when I found no human being left, 
I cast away all fear, and girt my loins, 
And in the name of God went boldly forth, 
Armed for the strife. I saw him towering rise, 
Huge as a mountain, with his hideous hair 
Dragging upon the ground ; his long black tongue 
Shut up the path ; his eyes two lakes of blood ; 
And, seeing me, so horrible his roar, 
The earth shook with affright, and from his mouth 
A flood of poison issued. Like a lion 
Forward I sprang, and in a moment drove 
A diamond-pointed arrow through his tongue, 
Fixing him to the ground. Another went 
Down his deep throat, and dreadfully he writhed. 
A third passed through his middle. Then I raised 
My battle-axe, cow-headed, and with one 
Tremendous blow, dislodged his venomous brain, 
And deluged all around with blood and poison. 
There lay the monster dead, and soon the world 
Regained its peace and comfort. Now I'm old, 
The vigour of my youth is past and gone, 
And it becomes me to resign my station, 
To Zal, my gallant son." 

Mihrab continued in such extreme agitation, that in his own 
mind he saw no means of avoiding the threatened desolation of 
his country but by putting his wife and daughter to death. 
Sindokht however had a better resource, and suggested the 
expediency of waiting upon Sam herself, to induce him to 
forward her own views and the nuptials between Ziil and 
Rudabeh. To this Mihrab assented, and she proceeded, 
mounted on a richly caparisoned horse, to Zabul with most 
magnificent presents, consisting of three hundred thousand 
dinars ; ten horses with golden, and thirty with silver, housings ; 
sixty richly attired damsels, carrying golden trays of je\vels and 


musk, and camphor, and wine, and sugar ; forty pieces of 
figured cloth ; a hundred milch camels, and a hundred others 
for burthen ; two hundred Indian swords, a golden crown and 
throne, and four elephants. Sam was amazed and embarrassed 
by the arrival of this splendid array. If he accepted the 
presents, he would incur the anger of Miniichihr ; and if he 
rejected them, Zal would be disappointed and driven to despair. 
He at length accepted them, and concurred in the wishes of 
Siudokht respecting the union of the two lovers. 

When Zal arrived at the court of Miniichihr, he was received 
with honour, and the letter of Slim being read, the king was 
prevailed upon to consent to the pacific proposals that were 
made in favour of Mihrab, and the nuptials. He too con- 
sulted his astrologers, and was informed that the offspring of 
Zal and Rudabeh would be a hero of matchless strength and 
valour. Zal, on his return through Kabul, had an interview 
with Rudabeh, who welcomed him in the most rapturous 
terms : 

Be thou for ever blest, for I adore thee, 

And make the dust of thy fair feet my pillow. 

In short, with the approbation of all parties the marriage at 
length took place, and was celebrated at the beautiful summer- 
house where first the lovers met. Sam was present at Kabul 
on the happy occasion, and soon afterwards returned to Sistan, 
preparatory to resuming his martial labours in Karugsar and 

As the time drew near that Rudabeh should become a 
mother, she suffered extremely from constant indisposition, and 
both Zal and Sindokht were in the deepest distress on account 
of her precarious state. 

The cypress leaf was withering ; pale she lay, 
Unsoothed by rest or sleep, death seemed approaching. 

At last Zal recollected the feather of the Simurgh, and 
followed the instructions which he had received, by placing it 


on the fire. In a moment darkness surrounded them, which 
was, however, immediately dispersed by the sudden appearance 
of the Siruurgh. "Why," said the Slmurgh, "do I see all this 
grief and sorrow ? "Why are the tear-drops in the warrior's 
eyes ? A child will be bom of mighty power, who will become 
the wonder of the world." 

The Simurgh then gave some advice which was implicitly 
attended to, and the result was that Kudabeh was soon out of 
danger. Never was beheld so prodigious a child. The father 
and mother were equally amazed. They called the boy Eastern. 
On the first day he looked a year old, and he required the milk 
of ten nurses. A likeness of him was immediately worked in 
silk, representing him upon a horse, and armed like a warrior, 
which was sent to Sam, who was then fighting in Mazinderan, 
and it made the old champion almost delirious with joy. At 
Kabul and Zabul there was nothing but feasting and rejoicing, 
as soon as the tidings were known, and thousands of dinars 
were given away in charity to the poor. When Rustem was 
five years of age, he ate as much as a man, and some say that 
even in his third year he rode on horseback. In his eighth 
year he was as powerful as any hero of the time. 

In beauty of form and in vigour of limb,* 
No mortal was ever seen equal to him. 

* In the heroic ages of Persia, as in the early periods of every nation, feats 
of personal activity and muscular strength, constituted the most prominent 
features of a champion, and accordingly Firdausf has thought it necessary to 
give his hero extraordinary size and gigantic breadtii of limb. Hercules had 
almost completed his eighth month before he strangled the serpents which 
Juno had sent to devour him ; but Rustem, when a day old, was like a child 
of twelve months. When three years old he was fond of warlike pursuits and 
rode on horseback, and when ten, there was not a man in that country who 
could contend with him in battle. In wrestling, and other violent exercises, 
he was unequalled. Firdausi has thus, with a view of making him great, 
made him a prodigy. But Homer is not guiltless of similar extravagance, for 
be says of the giants Otus and Ephialtes : 

The wondrous youths had scarce nine winters told 
When high in air, tremendous to behold, 
Nine ells aloft they reared their towering head, 
And full nine cubits broad their shoulders spread ; 
Proud of their strength, and more than mortal size, 
1'he gods they challenge, and affect the skies. 

ODYSSBY, si. 310. Porit 


Both Stira and Milmib, though far distant from the scene of 
felicity, were equally anxious to proceed to Zabulistiin to behold 
their wonderful grandson. Both set off, but Mihrab arrived 
first with great pomp, and a whole army for his suite, and went 
forth with Zal to meet Sam, and give him an honourable 
welcome. The boy Eustem was mounted on an elephant, 
wearing a splendid crown, and wanted to join them, but his 
father kindly prevented him undergoing the inconvenience 
of alighting. Ziil and Mihrab dismounted as soon as Sam 
was seen at a distance, and performed the ceremonies of an 
affectionate reception. Sam was indeed amazed when he did 
see the boy, and showered blessings on his head. 

Afterwards Sam placed Mihrab on his right hand, and Zal on 
his left, and Rustem before him, and began to converse with 
his grandson, who thus manifested to him his martial dis- 

" Thou art the champion of the world, and I 
The branch of that fair tree of which thou art 
The glorious root : to thee I am devoted, 
But ease and leisure have no charms for me ; 
Xor music, nor the songs of festive joy. 
Mounted and armed, a helmet on my brow, 
A javelin in my grasp, I long to meet 
The foe, and cast his severed head before thec." 

Then Sam made a royal feast, and every apartment in his 
palace was richly decorated, and resounded with mirth and 
rejoicing. Mihrab was the merriest, and drank the most, and 
in his cups saw nothing but himself, so vain had he become 
from the countenance he had received. He kept saying : 

" Now I feel no alarm about Sam or Zal-zer, 

Nor the splendour and power of the great Minuchihr ; 

Whilst aided by Eustem, his sword, and his mace, 

Not a cloud of misfortune can shadow my face. 

All the laws of Zohak I will quickly restore, 

And the world shall be fragrant and blest as before." 

This exultation plainly betrayed the disposition of his race ; 


and though Sdin smiled at the extravagance of Mihrdb, he 
looked up towards Heaven, and prayed that Rustem might net 
prove a tyrant, but be continually active in doing good, and 
humble before God. 

Upon Sam departing, on his return to Karugsar and Mazin- 
derdn, Zal went with Rustem to Sistan, a province dependent 
on his government, and settled him there. The white elephant, 
belonging to Miniichihr, was kept at Sistan. One night 
Rustem was awakened out of his sleep by a great noise, and 
cries of distress, when starting up and inquiring the cause, he 
was told that the white elephant had got loose, and was tramp- 
ling and crushing the people to death. In a moment he 
issued from his apartment, brandishing his mace ; but was 
soon stopped by the servants, who were anxious to expostulate 
with him against venturing out in the darkness of night to 
encounter a ferocious elephant. Impatient at being thus 
interrupted he knocked down one of the watchmen, who fell 
dead at his feet, and the others running away, he broke the 
lock of the gate, and escaped. He immediately opposed 
himself to the enormous animal, which looked like a mountain, 
and kept roaring like the river Nil. Regarding him with a 
cautious and steady eye, he gave a loud shout, and fearlessly 
struck him a blow, with such strength and vigour, that the 
iron mace was bent almost double. The elephant trembled, 
and soon fell exhausted and lifeless in the dust. When it was 
communicated to Zal that Rustem had killed the animal with 
one blow, he was amazed, and fervently returned thanks to 
heaven. He called him to him, and kissed him, and said : 
" My darling boy, thou art indeed unequalled in valour and 

Then it occurred to Z<il that Rustem, after such an achieve- 
ment, would be a proper person to take vengeance on the 
enemies of hib grandfather Nilrimjin, who was sent by Feridun 
with a large army against an enchanted fort situated upon the 
mountain Sipund, and who whilst endeavouring to effect his 
object, was killed by a piece of rock thrown down from above 

F 2 


by the besieged. The fort,* which was many miles high, 
inclosed beautiful lawns of the freshest verdure, and delightful 
gardens abounding with fruit- and flowers ; it was also full of 
treasure. Sam, on hearing of the fate of his father, was deeply 
afflicted, and in a short time proceeded against the fort himself ; 
but he was surrounded by a trackless desert. He knew not 
what course to pursue ; not a being was ever seen to enter or 
come out of the gates, and, after spending months and years 
in fruitless endeavours, he was compelled to retire from the 
appalling enterprize in despair. " Now," said Zal to Eustem, 
" the time is come, and the remedy is at hand ; thou art yet 
unknown, and may easily accomplish our purpose." Rustem 
agreed to the proposed adventure, and according to his father's 
advice, assumed the dress and character of a salt-merchant, 
prepared a caravan of camels, and secreted arms for himself 
and companions among the loads of salt. Every thing being 
ready they set off, and it was not long before they reached the 
fort on the mountain Sipund. Salt being a precious article, and 
much wanted, as soon as the garrison knew that it was for sale, 
the gates were opened ; and then was Rustem seen, together 
with his warriors, surrounded by men, women, and children, 
anxiously making their purchases, some giving clothes in 
exchange, some gold, and some silver, without fear or suspicion. 

But when the night came on, and it was dark, 
Rustem impatient drew his warriors forth, 
And moved towards the mansion of the chief 
But not unheard. The unaccustomed noise, 
Announcing warlike menace and attack, 
Awoke the Kotwal, who sprung up to meet 
The peril threatened by the invading foe. 
Rustem meanwhile uplifts his ponderous mace, 
And cleaves his head, and scatters on the ground 

* The fort called Killah Suffeed, lies about seventy-six miles north-west of 
the city of Shiraz. It is of an oblong form, and encloses a level space at the 
top of the mountain, which is covered with delightful verdure, and watered 
by numerous springs. The ascent is near three miles, and for the last five or 
six hundred yards, the summit is so difficult of approach, that the slightest 
opposition, if well directed, must render it impregnable. 


Tbe reeking brains. And now the garrison 
Are on the alert, all hastening to the spot 
Where battle rages ; midst the deepened gloom 
Flash sparkling swords, which shew the crimson earth 
15 right as the ruby. 

Rustem continued fighting with the people of the fort all 
night, and, just as morning dawned, he discovered the chief 
and slew him. Those who survived, then escaped, and not one 
of the inhabitants remained within the walls alive. Rustem' s 
next object was to enter the governor's mansion. It was built 
of stone, and the gate, which was made of iron, he burst open 
with his battle-axe, and advancing onward, he discovered a 
temple, constructed with infinite skill and science, beyond the 
power of mortal man, and which contained amazing wealth, in 
jewels and gold. All the warriors gathered for themselves as 
much treasure as they could carry away, and more than 
imagination can conceive ; and Rustem wrote to Zal to know 
his further commands on the subject of the capture. Zal, 
overjoyed at the result of the enterprise, replied : 

Thou hast illumed the soul of Nariman, 
Now in the blissful bowers of Paradise, 
13y punishing his foes with fire and sword. 

He then recommended him to load all the camels with as much 
of the invaluable property as could be removed, and bring it 
away, and then burn and destroy the whole place, leaving not 
a single vestige ; and the command having been strictly com- 
plied with, Rustem retraced his steps to Zabulistan. 

On his return Zal pressed him to his heart, 
And paid him public honours. The fond mother 
Kissed and embraced her darling son, and all 
Uniting, showered their blessings on his head. 

70 THE SH^H 


To Minilchihr we now must turn again, 
And mark the close of his illustrious reign. 

The king had flourished one hundred and 'twenty years, 
when now the astrologers ascertained that the period of hip 
departure from this life was at hand. 

They told him of that day of bitterness, 

Which would obscure the splendour of his throne ; 

And said " The time approaches, thou must go, 

Doubtless to Heaven. Think what thou hast to do ; 

And be it done before the damp cold earth 

Inshrine thy body. Let not sudden death 

O'ertake thee, ere thou art prepared to die ! " 

Warned by the wise, he called his courtiers round him, 

And thus he counselled Nauder : " 0, my sou ! 

Fix not thy heart upon a regal crown, 

For this vain world is fleeting as the wind ; 

The pain and sorrows of twice sixty years 

.Have I endured, though happiness and joy 

Have also been my portion. I have fought 

In many a battle, vanquished many a foe ; 

By Fcridun's commands I girt my loins, 

And his advice has ever been my guide. 

I hurLd just vengeance on the tyrant-brothers 

Solim and Tiir, who slew the gentle Irij ; 

And cities have I built, and made the tree 

Which yielded poison, teem with wholesome fruit. 

And now to thce the kingdom I resign, 

That kingdom which belonged to Feridun, 

And thou wilt be the sovereign of the woill | 

]>ut turn not from the worship of thy God, 

That sucrcd worship Moses taught, the best 

Of all the prophets ; turn not from the path 

Of purest holiness, thy father's choice. 

" My son, events of peril are before thee ; 
Thy enemy will come in fierce array, 
From the wild mountains of Turan, the son 
Of Poshang, the invader. In that hour 
Of danger, seek the aid of Sam and Zal, 
And that young branch just blossoming ; Turan 
Will then have no safe buckler of defence, 
None to protect it from their conquering arms." 

Thus spoke the sire prophetic to his son, 
And both were moved to tears. Again the king 


Kesumed his warning voice : " N.iuder, I charge thco 

Place not thy trust upon a world like this,* 

Where nothing fixed remains. The caravan 

Goes to another city, one to-day, 

The next, to-morrow, each observes its turn 

And time appointed mine has come at last, 

And I must travel on the destined road." 

At the period Mimichihr uttered this exhortation, he was 
entirely free from indisposition, but he shortly afterwards closed 
his eves in death. 


Upon the demise of Mimichihr, Nauder ascended the throne, 
and commenced his reign in the most promising manner ; but 
before two months had passed, he neglected the counsels of his 
father, and betrayed the despotic character of his heart. To 
such an extreme did he carry his oppression, that to escape 

* The Persian poets, and particularly Firdausi, are eminently distinguished 
for their apposite and striking reflections on fate and on the instability of 
worldly grandeur. The portion of the Sh6h Naineh which contains the history 
of Jemshid, abounds in heautiful and philosophical observations, conveyed in 
all the enchanting sweetness of harmonious versification. The declension of 
Jemshfd's glory, occasioned by his impious ambition to rival the Deity, and 
his subsequent wanderings, afforded a rich subject for our poet's peculiar 
vein. Sadi is also peculiarly successful in the same moral spirit. " When the 
pure and spotless soul is about to depart, of what importance is it whether 
we expire upon a throne or upon the bare ground 1 " 

Thus Horace : 


Pallida mors cequo pulsat pedo pauperum tttbernas, 

Regumquo turres. I. OD. iv. 13, 

What though we wade in wealth or soar in fame I 
Earth's highest station ends in here he lies! 
AJI<! ' ! usl fa dust conclijdes her noblest song, 


from his violence, the people were induced to solicit other 
princes to come and take possession of the empire. The 
courtiers laboured under the greatest embarrassment, their 
monarch being solely occupied in extorting money from his 
subjects, and amassing wealth for his own coffers. Nauder 
was not long in perceiving the dissatisfaction that universally 
prevailed, and, anticipating, not only an immediate revolt, but 
an invading army, solicited, according to his father's advice, 
the assistance of Sam, then at M<lzinderd,n. The complaints of 
the people, however, reached Sd,m before the arrival of the 
messenger, and when he received the letter, he was greatly 
distressed on account of the extreme severity exercised by the 
new king. The champion, in consequence, proceeded forth- 
with from Mdzinderiin to Persia, and when he entered the 
capital, he was joyously welcomed, and at once entreated by 
the people to take the sovereignty upon himself. It was said 
of Naudcr : 

The gloom of tyranny has hid 

The light his father's counsel gave ; 
The hope of life is lost amid 

The desolation of the grave. 

The world is withering in his thrall, 

Exhausted by his iron sway ; 
Do thou ascend the throne, and all 

Will cheerfully thy will obey. 

But Sam said, "No ; I should then be ungrateful to Mmuchihr, 
a traitor, and deservedly offensive in the eyes of God. Nauder 
is the king, and I am bound to do him service, although he 
has deplorably departed from the advice of his father." He 
then soothed the alarm and irritation of the chiefs, and en- 
gaging to be a mediator upon the unhappy occasion, brought 
them to a more pacific tone of thinking. After this he imme- 
diately repaired to Nauder, who received him with great favour 
and kindness. " king," said he, " only keep Feridiin in 
remembrance, and govern the empire in such a manner that 
thy name may be honoured by thy subjects ; for, be well 


assured, that he who has a just estimate of the world, will 
never look upon it as his place of rest. It is but an inn, 
where all travellers meet on their way to eternity, but must 
not remain. The wise consider those who fix their affections 
on this life, as utterly devoid of reason and reflection : 

Pleasure, and pomp, and wealth may be obtained 

And every want luxuriously supplied : 

But suddenly, without a moment's warning, 

Death comes, and hurls the monarch from his throi.e, 

His crown and sceptre scattering in the dust. 

He who is satisfied with earthly joys, 

Can never know the blessedness of Heaven ; 

His soul must still be dark. Why do the good 

Suffer in this world, but to be prepared 

For future rest and happiness ? The name 

Of Feridun is honoured among men, 

Whilst curses load the memory of Zohak." 

This intercession of Sam produced an entire change in the 
government of Nauder, who promised, in future, to rule his 
people according to the principles of Hiisheng, and Fcridiin, 
and Mimichihr. The chiefs and captains of the army were, 
in consequence, contented, and the kingdom reunited itself 
under his sway. 

In the mean time, however, the news of the death of 
Minuchihr, together with Naudcr's injustice and severity, and 
the disaffection of his people, had reached Tiinin, of which 
country Poshang, a descendant from Tur, was then the sovereign. 
Poshang, who had been unable to make a single successful 
hostile movement during the life of Minuchihr, at once con- 
ceived this to be a fit opportunity of taking revenge for the 
blood of Selim and Tur, and every appearance seeming to be 
in his favour, he called before him his heroic son Afrasiyilb, 
and explained to him his purpose and views. It was not diffi- 
cult to inspire the youthful mind of Afrasiyab with the senti- 
ments he himself cherished, and a large army was immediately 
collected to take the field against Nauder. Poshang was proud 
of the chivalrous spirit and promptitude displayed by his son, 
who is said to have been as strong as a lion, or an elephant, and 


whose shadow extended miles. His tongue was like a bright 
sword, and his heart as bounteous as the ocean, and his hands 
like the clouds when rain falls to gladden the thirsty earth. 
Aghriras, the brother of Afrasiydb, however, was not so pre- 
cipitate. He cautioned his father to be prudent, for though 
Persia could no longer boast of the presence of Miniichihr, 
still the great warrior Silm, and Kiirun, and Garshasp, were 
living, and Poshang had only to look at the result of the wars 
in which Selim and Tur were involved, to be convinced that 
the existing conjuncture required mature deliberation. " It 
would be better," said he, " not to begin the contest at all, 
than to bring ruin and desolation on our own country." 
Poshang, on the contrary, thought the time peculiarly fit and 
inviting, and contended that, as Mimichihr took vengeance for 
the blood of his grandfather, so ought Afnlsiyab to take ven- 
geance for his. " The grandson," he said, " who refuses to do 
this act of justice, is unworthy of his family. There is nothing 
to apprehend from the efforts of Xauder, who is an inex- 
perienced youth, nor from the valour of his warriors. Afrasiydb 
is brave and powerful in war, and thou must accompany him 
and share the glory." After this no further observation was 
offered, and the martial preparations were completed. 


The brazen drums on the elephants were sounded as the 
signal of departure, and the army proceeded rapidly to its 
destination, overshadowing the earth in its progress. Afnlsiyab 
had penetrated as far as the Jihiin before Nauder was aware of 
his approach. Upon receiving this intelligence of the activity 
of the enemy, the warriors of the Persian army immediately 


moved in that direction, and on their arrival at Dehstan, pre- 
pared for battle. 

Afriisiyab despatched thirty thousand of his troops under the 
command of Shimasas and Khazervan to Ztibulistan, to act 
against Zal, having heard on his march of the death of the 
illustrious Sam. and advanced himself upon Dehsttln with four 
hundred thousand soldiers, covering the ground like swarms of 
ants and locusts. He soon discovered that Nauder's forces did 
not exceed one hundred and forty thousand men, and wrote to 
Poshang, his father, in high spirits, especially on account of not 
having to contend against Sa"ra, the warrior, and informed him 
that he had detached Shimasas against Zdbulistan. "When the 
armies had approached to within two leagues of each other, 
Barmdn, one of the Turanian chiefs, offered to challenge any one 
of the enemy to single combat : but Aghriras objected to it, not 
wishing that so valuable a hero should run the hazard of dis- 
comfiture. At this Afnisiyab was very indignant, and directed 
Banna 1 n to follow the bent of his own inclinations. 

" "Tis not for us to shrink from Persian foe, 
Put on thy armour, and prepare thy bow." 

Accordingly the challenge was given. Ka"run looked round, 
and the only person who answered the call was the aged Kobad, 
his brother. Kiirun and Kobad were both sons of Kavah, the 
blacksmith, and both leaders in the Persian army. No per- 
suasion could restrain Kobad from the unequal conflict. He 
resisted all the entreaties of Karun, who said to him, 

" 0. should thy hoary locks be stained with blood, 
Thy legions will be overwhelmed with grief, 
And, in despair, decline the coming battle." 
But what was the reply of brave Kobad ? 
" Brother, this body, this frail tenement, 
Belongs to death. No living man has ever 
Gone up to Heaven for all are doomed to die. 
Some by the sword, the dagger, or the spear. 
And some, devoured by roaring beasts of prey ; 
Some peacefully upon their beds, and others 
Snatched suddenly from life, endure the lot 


fhvlained by the Creator. If I perish, 
Does not my brother live, my noble brother, 
To bury me beneath a warrior's tomb, 
And bless my memory ? " 

Saying this, he rushed forward, and the two warriors met in 
desperate conflict. The struggle lasted all day ; at last B drman 
threw a stone at his antagonist with such force, that Kobad in 
receiving the blow fell lifeless from his horse. \Vhen Karun 
saw that his brother was slain, he brought forward his whole 
army to be revenged upon the enemy for the death of Kobdd. 
Afrasiyab himself advanced to the charge, and the encounter 
was dreadful. The soldiers who fell among the Turanians 
could not be numbered, but the Persians lost fifty thousand 

Loud neighed the steeds, and their resounding hoofs, 
Shook the deep caverns of the earth ; the dust 
lio^e up in clouds and hid the azure heavens 
I> right beamed the swords, and in that caniaec wide, 
Blood flowed like water. Night alone divided 
The hostile armies. 

When the battle ceased Karun fell back upon Dehsttln, and 
communicated his misfortune to Nauder, who lamented the 
loss of Kobad, even more than that of Sam. In the morning 
Karun again took the field against Afrasiyab, and the conflict 
was again terrible. Nauder boldly opposed himself to the 
enemy, and singling out Afrasiyab, the two heroes fought with 
great bravery till night again put an end to the engagement. 
The Persian army had suffered most, and Nauder retired to his 
tent disappointed, fatigued, and sorrowful. He then called to 
mind the words of Minuchibr, and called for his two sons, Tiis 
and Gustahem. With melancholy forebodings he directed them 
to return to Iran, with his shubistan, or domestic establishment, 
and take refuge on the mountain Alberz, in the hope that some 
one of the race of Feridiin might survive the general ruin which 
seemed to be approaching. 

The armies rested two days. On the third the rever- 


berating noise of drums and trumpets announced the recom- 
mencement of the battle. On the Persian side Shahpiir had 
been appointed in the room of Kobdd, and Bdrmdn and 
Shiwaz led the right and left of the Turd nians under Afrdsiydb. 

From dawn to sun-set, mountain, plain, and stream, 

Were hid from view ; the earth, beneath the tread 

Of myriads, groaned ; and when the javelins cast 

Long shadows on the plain at even tide, 

The Tartar host had won the victory ; 

And many a Persian chief fell on that day : 

Shahpur himself was slain. 

When Nauder and Kdrun saw the unfortunate result of the 
battle, they again fell back upon Dehstdn, and secured them- 
selves in the fort. Afrdsiydb in the mean time dispatched 
Kanikhdn to Iran, through the desert, with a body of horse- 
men, for the purpose of intercepting and capturing the 
shubistan of Nauder. As soon as Kdrun heard of this 
expedition he was all on fire, and proposed to pursue the 
squadron under Kariikhdn, and frustrate, at once the object 
which the enemy had in view ; and though Nauder was un- 
favourable to this movement, Kdrun, supported by several of 
the chiefs and a strong volunteer force, set off at midnight, 
without permission, on this important enterprise. It was not 
long before they reached the Duz-i-Suped, or white fort, of 
which Gustahem was the governor, and falling in with Bdrmdn, 
who was also pushing forward to Persia, Karun, in revenge for 
his brother Kobdd, sought him out, and dared him to single 
combat. He threw his javelin with such might, that his 
antagonist was driven furiously from his horse ; and then, 
dismounting, he cut off his head, and hung it at his saddle- 
bow. After this he attacked and defeated the Tartar troops, 
and continued his march towards Irdn. 

Nauder having found that Karun had departed, immediately 
followed, and Afrdsiydb was not long in pursuing him. The 
Turdnians at length came up with Nauder, and attacked him 
with great vigour. The unfortunate king, unable to parry the 


onset, fell into the hands of his enemies, together with upwards 
of one thousand of his famous warriors. 

Long fought they, Nauder and the Tartar-chief, 
And the thick dust which rose from either host, 
Darkened the rolling Heavens. Afrasiyab 
Seized by the girdle-belt the Persian king, 
And furious, dragged him from his foaming horse. 
With him a thousand warriors, high in name, 
Were taken on the field ; and every legion, 
Captured whilst flying from the victor's brand. 

Such are the freaks of Fortune : friend and foe 
Alternate wear the crown. The world itself 
Is an ingenious juggler every moment 
Playing some novel trick ; exalting one 
In pomp and splendour, crushing down another, 
As if in sport, and death the end of all 1 

After the achievement of this victory Afrasiytlb directed 
that Karun should be pursued and attacked wherever he might 
be found ; but when he heard that he had hurried on for the 
protection of the shubistan, and had conquered and slain 
Biirnuin, he gnawed his hands with rage. The reign of 
Nauder lasted only seven years. After him Afra'siya'b was the 
master of Persia. 


It has already been said that Shimasas and Khazemln were 
sent by Afra'siya'b with thirty thousand men against Kabul and 
Zilbul, and when Zal heard of this movement he forthwith 
united with Mihrdb the chief of Ka"bul, and having first 
collected a large army in Sistdn, had a conflict with the two 
Tartar generals. 


7A\ promptly donned himself in war attire, 

And, mounted like a hero, to the field 

Hastened, his soldiers frowning on their steeds. 

Now Khazervan grasps his huge battle-axe, 

And, his broad shield extending, at one blow 

Shivers the mail of Zal, who calls aloud 

As, like a lion, to the fight he springs, 

Armed with his father's mace. Sternly he looks 

And with the fury of a dragon, drives 

The weapon through his adversary's head, 

Staining the ground with streaks of blood, resembling 

The waving stripes upon a tiger's back. 

At this time Eustem was confined at home with the small 
pox. Upon the death of Khazerviln, Shimasiis thirsted to be 
revenged ; but when Zal meeting him raised his mace, and 
began to close, the chief became alarmed and turned back, and 
all his squadrons followed his example] 

Fled Shimasas, and all his fighting train, 
Like herds by tempests scattered o'er the plain. 

Zal set off in pursuit, and slew a great number of the 
enemy ; but when Afrasiyab was made acquainted with this 
defeat, he immediately released Nauder from his fetters, and in 
his rage instantly deprived him of life. 

He struck him and so deadly was the blow, 
Breath left the body in a moment's space. 

After this, Afrdsiyab turned his views towards Ttis and 
Gustahem in the hope of getting them into his hands ; but as 
soon as they received intimation of his object, the two brothers 
retired from Inin, and went to Sisttin to live under the pro- 
tection of Ztil. The champion received them with due respect 
and honour. Ktlrum also went, with all the warriors and 
people who had been supported by Nauder, and co-operated 
with Zal, who encouraged them with the hopes of future 
success. Zal, however, considered that both Tiis and Gustahem 
were still of a tender age that a monarch of extraordinary 
wisdom and energy was required to oppose Afrasiyjib that he 


himself was not of the blood of the Kais, nor fit for the duties 
of sovereignty, and, therefore, he turned his thoughts towards 
Aghriras, the younger brother of Afrasiyab, distinguished as 
he was for his valour, prudence, and humanity, and to whom 
Poshang, his father, had given the government of Rai. To 
him Zal sent an envoy, saying, that if he would proceed to 
Sistan, he should be supplied with ample resources to place him 
on the throne of Persia ; that by the co-operation of Zsit 
and all his warriors the conquest would be easy, and that 
there would be no difficulty in destroying the power of 
Afrasiydb. Aghriras accepted the offer, and immediately pro- 
ceeded from his kingdom of Rai towards Sistan. On his 
arrival at Bdbel, Afrasiyab heard of his ambitious plans, and 
lost no time in assembling his army and marching to arrest the 
progress of his brother. Aghriras, unable to sustain a battle, 
had recourse to negotiation and a conference, in which 
Afrasiyab said to him, " "What rebellious conduct is this, of 
which thou art guilty ? Is not the country of Rai sufficient 
for thee, that thou art thus aspiring to be a great king ? " 
Aghriras replied : " Why reproach and insult me thus ? Art 
thou not ashamed to accuse another of rebellious conduct ? 

Shame might have held thy tongue ; reprove not me 

In bitterness ; God did not give thce power 

To injure man, and surely not thy kin." 

Afrasiyab, enraged at this reproof, 

Replied by a foul deed he grasped his sword, 

And with remorseless fury slew his brother ! 

"When intelligence of this cruel catastrophe came to ZuFs 
ears, he exclaimed : " Now indeed has the empire of Afrasiyab 
arrived at its crisis : 

Yes, yes, the tyrant's throne is tottering now, 
And past is all his glory." 

Then Zal bound his loins in hostility against Afnisiyab, and 
gathering together all his warriors, resolved upon taking 


revenge for the death of Nauder, and expelling the tyrant froir 
Persia. Neither Tiis nor Gusfcahem being yet capable ol 
sustaining the cares and duties of the throne, his anxiety war 
to obtain the assistance of some one of the race of Feridun. 

These youths were for imperial rule unfit : 
A king of royal lineage and worth 
The state required, and none could he remember 
Save Tahmasp's son, descended from the blood 
Of Feridun. 


At the time when Selim and Tiir were killed, Tahmasp, the 
son of Selim, fled from the country and took refuge in an 
island, where he died, and left a son named Zau. Ztll sent 
Karun, the son of Kavah, attended by a proper escort, with 
overtures to Zau, who readily complied, and was under favour- 
able circumstances seated upon the throne : 

Speedily, in arms, 

He led his troops to Persia, fought, and won 
A kingdom, by his power and bravery 
And happy was the day when princely Zau 
Was placed upon that throne of sovereignty ; 
All breathed their prayers upon his future reign, 
And o'er his head (the customary rite) 
Shower'd gold and jewels. 

When he had subdued the country, ne turned his arms 
against Afrasiyab, who in consequence of losing the co-operation 
of the Persians, and not being in a state to encounter a 
superior force, thought it prudent to retreat, and return to his 
father. The reign of Zau lasted five years, after which he 
died, and was succeeded by his son Garshasp. 




Garshiisp, whilst in liis minority, being unacquainted with 
the affairs of government, abided in all things by the judgment 
and counsels of Zal. When Afnisiyab arrived at Turan, his 
father was in great distress and anger orf account of the in- 
human murder of Aghriras ; and so exceedingly did he grieve, 
that he would not endure his presence. 

And when Afrasiyab returned, his sire, 

Poshang, in grief, refused to see his face. 

To him the day of happiness and joy 

Had been obscured by the dark clouds of night ; 

And thus he said : ' ; Why didst thou, why didst thou 

In power supreme, without pretence of guilt, 

With thy own hand his precious life destroy ? 

Why hast thou shed thy innocent brother's blood ? 

In this life thou art nothing now to me ; 

Away, I must not see thy face again." 

Afrasiyab continued offensive and despicable in the mind of 
his father till he heard that Garshasp was unequal to rule over 
Persia, and then thinking he could turn the warlike spirit of 
Afrasiyab to advantage, he forgave the crime of his son. lie 
forthwith collected an immense army, and sent him again to 
effect the conquest of Iran, under the pretext of avenging the 
death of Selim and Tur. 

Afrasiydb a mighty army raised, 
And passing plain and river, mountain high, 
And desert wild, filled all the Persian realm 
With consternation, universal dread. 

The chief authorities of the country applied to Zal as their 
only remedy against the invasion of Afrasiyab. 

They said to Zal, " How easy is the task 

For thee to grasp the world then, since thou canst 

Afford us succour, yield the blessing now ; 

For, lo ! the King Afrasiyab has come, 

In all his power and overwhelming might." 


Zal replied that he had on this occasion appointed Kustem 
to command the army, and to oppose the invasion of Afnisiy;ib. 

And thus the warrior Zal to Rustem spoke 

" Strong as an elephant thou art, my son, 

Surpassing thy companions, and I now 

Forewarn thee that a- difficult emprize, 

Hostile to ease or sleep, demands thy care. 

Tis true, of battles thou canst nothing know, 

But what am I to do ? This is no time 

For banquetting. and yet thy lips still breathe 

The scent of milk, a proof of infancy ; 

Thy heart pants after gladness and the sweet 

Endearments of domestic life ; can I 

Then send thee to the war to cope with heroes 

Burning with wrath and vengeance 1 " Rustem said, 

" Mistake me not, I have no wish, not I, 

For soft endearments, nor domestic life, 

Nor home-felt joys. This chest, these nervous limbs, 

Denote far other objects of pursuit, 

Than a luxurious life of ease and pleasure." 

Zal having taken great pains in the instruction of Rustem 
in warlike exercises, and the rules of "battle, found infinite 
aptitude in the boy, and his activity and skill seemed to be 
superior to his own. He thanked God for the comfort it gave 
him, and was glad. Then Rustcm asked his father for a 
suitable mace ; and seeing the huge weapon which was borne 
by the great Slim, he took it up, and it answered his purpose 

When the young hero saw the mace of Siiru 
He smiled with pleasure, and his heart rejoiced ; 
And paying homage to his father Zal, 
The champion of the age, asked for a steed 
Of corresponding power, that he might use 
That famous club with added force and vigour. 

Ziil shewed him all the horses in his possession, and Rustcm 
tried many, but found not one of sufficient strength to suit 
nim. At last his eyes fell upon a mare followed by a foal of 
great promise, beauty, and strength. 

Seeing that foal, whose bright and glossy t-k!n 
Was dappled o'er, like blossoms of the rose 
Upon a saffron lawn, Rustem prepared 
His noose, and held it ready in his baud. 

O 2 


The groom recommended him to secure the foal, as it was 
the offspring of Abrcsh, born of a Di\v, or Demon, and called 
Rakush. The dam had killed several persons who attempted 
to seize her young one. 

Now Rustem flings the noose, and suddenly 
Kakush secures. Meanwhile the furious mare 
Attacks him, eager with her pointed teeth 
To crush his brain but, stunned by his loud cry, 
She stops in wonder. Then with clenched hand 
He smites her on the head and neck, and down 
She tumbles, struggling in the pangs of death. 

Rakush, however, though with the noose round his neck, 
was not so easily subdued ; but kept dragging and pulling 
Rustem, as if by a tether, and it was a considerable time before 
the animal could be reduced to subjection. At last, Rustem 
thanked Heaven that he had obtained the very horse ho 

" Now am I with my horse prepared to join 
The field of warriors ! " Thus the hero said, 
And placed the saddle on his charger. Z;ii 
Beheld him with delight, his withered heart 
Glowing with summer freshness. Open then 
He threw his treasury, thoughtless of the pnst 
Or future present joy absorbing all 
His faculties, and thrilling every nerve. 

In a short time Zal sent Rustem with a prodigious army 
against Afriisiyab, and two days afterwards set off himself and 
joined his son. Afrdsiyab said, " The son is but a boy, and the 
father is old ; I shall have no difficulty in recovering the 
empire of Persia." These observations having reached Zal, 
he pondered deeply, considering that Garshasp would not be 
ble to contend against Afrasiyab, and that no other prince of 
the race of Feridiin was known to be in existence. However, 
he dispatched people in every quarter to gather information on 
the subject, and at length Kai-kobad was understood to be 
residing in obscurity on the mountain Alberz, distinguished for 
his wisdom and valour, and his qualifications for the exercise of 


sovereign power. Zal therefore recommended Rustcm to pro- 
ceed to Alborz, and bring him from his concealment. 

Tims Zal to Eastern spoke, " Go forth, my son, 
Ami speedily perform this pressing duty, 
To linger would be dangerous. Say to him, 
' The army is prepared the throne is ready, 
And thou alone, of the Kaianian race, 
Deemed fit for sovereign rule.' " 

Rustem accordingly mounted Rakush, and accompanied by a 
powerful force, pursued his way towards the mountain Alberz ; 
and though the road was infested by the troops of Afnisiyab, 
he valiantly overcame every difficulty that was opposed to his 
progress. On reaching the vicinity of Alberz, he observed a 
beautiful spot of ground studded with luxuriant trees, and 
watered by glittering rills. There too, sitting upon a throne, 
placed in the shade on the flowery margin of a stream, he 
saw a young man, surrounded by a company of friends and 
attendants, and engaged at a gorgeous entertainment. Ilustem, 
when he came near, was hospitably invited to partake of the 
feast : but this he declined, saying, that he was on an important 
mission to Alberz, which forbade the enjoyment of any pleasure 
till his task was accomplished ; in short, that he was in search 
of Kai-kobad : but upon being told that he would there receive 
intelligence of him, he alighted and approached the bank of the 
stream where the company was assembled. The young man 
who was seated upon the golden throne took hold of the hand 
of Rustcm, and filling up a goblet with wine, gave another to 
his guest, and asked him at whose command or suggestion he 
was in search of Kai-kobtld. Rustern replied, that he was scut 
by his father Zal, and frankly communicated to him the special 
object they had in view. The young man, delighted with the 
information, immediately discovered himself, acknowledged thai 
.he was Kai-kobild, and then Rustem respectfully hailed him as 
the sovereign of Persia. 

The banquet was resumed again 
And, hark, the softly warbled strain, 


As harp and flute, in union sweet, 

The voices of the singers meet. 

The black-eyed damsels now display 

Their art in many an amorous lay ; 

And now the song is loud and clear. 

And speaks of Rustem's welcome here. 

" This is a day, a glorious day, 

That drives ungenial thoughts away ; 

This is a day to make us glad, 

Since Rustem comes for Kai-kob;id ; 

O, let us pass our time in glee, 

And talk of Jemshid's majesty. 

The pomp and glory of his reign, 

And still the sparkling goblet drain. 

Come, Saki, fill the wine-cup high, 

And let not even its brim be dry ; 

For wine alone has power to part 

The rust of sorrow from the heart. 

TDrink to the king, in merry mood, 

Since fortune smiles, and wine is good ; 

Quaffing red wine is better far 

'J han shedding blood in strife, or war ; 

Man is but dust, and why should he 

Become a fire of enmity 1 

Drink deep, all other cares resign. 

For what can vie with ruby wine ? " 

In this manner ran the song of the revellers. After which, 
and being rather merry with wine, Kai-kobad told Rustem of 
the dream that had induced him to descend from his place of 
refuge on Alberz, and to prepare a banquet on the occasion. 
He dreamt the night before that two white falcons from Persia 
placed a splendid crown upon his head, and this vision was in- 
terpreted by Rustem as symbolical of his father and himself, 
who at that moment were engaged in investing him with 
kingly power. The hero then solicited the young sovereign to 
hasten his departure for Persia, and preparations were made 
vithout delay. They travelled night and day, and fell in with 
Averal detachments of the enemy, which were easily repulsed 
"jy the valour of Rustem. The fiercest attack proceeded from 
Keliin, one of Afrasiydb's warriors, near the confines of Persia, 
who in the encounter used his spear with great dexterity and 


Put Rustcm with his javelin soon transfixed 

The Tartar knight who in the eyes of all 

1 'inked like a spitted chicken down he sunk. 

An I all his soldiers lied in wild dismay. 

'1 li ii Uusicm turned aside, and found a spot 

A\ here verdant meadows smiled, and streamlets flowed, 

Inviting weary travellers to rest. 

There they awhile remained and when the sun 

Went down, and night had darkened all the sky, 

The champion joyfully pursued his way, 

And brought the monarch to his father's house. 

Seven days they sat in council on the eighth 

Young Kai-kobad was crowned and placed upon 

The ivory throne in presence of his warriors, 

Wlio all besought him to commence the war 

Against the Tartar prince, Afrasiyab. 


Kai-kob;ld having been raised to the throne at a council of 
the warriors, and advised to oppose the progress of Afrasiydb, 
immediately assembled his army. Mihrab, the ruler of Kabul, 
was appointed to one wing, and Gustahcm to the other the 
centre was given to Kiirun and Kishwad, and Rustem was placed 
in. front, Ziil with Kai-kobad remaining in the rear. The glo- 
rious standard of Kavah streamed upon the breeze. 

On the other side, Afrasiydb prepared for battle, assisted by 
his heroes Akbds, "Wisah, Shimasas, and Gerslwaz ; and so great 
was the clamour and confusion which proceeded from both 
"armies, that earth and sky seemed blended together.* The 
clattering of hoofs, the shrill roar of trumpets, the rattle of 

* The numerical strength of the Persian and Turanian forces appears pro- 
digious on all occasions, but nothing when compared with the army under 
Xerxes at Thermopylae, which, with the numerous retinue of servants, 
eunuchs, and women that attended it, is said to have amounted to no less 
than 5,283,220 souls. 


brazen drums, and the vivid glittering of spear and shield, pro- 
duced indescribable tumult anJ. splendour. 

Karon was the first in action, and he brought many a her 
to the ground. He singled out Shimasas ; and after a desperate 
struggle, laid him breathless on the field. Rustem, stimulated 
by these exploits, requested his father, Zal, to point out Afra- 
siyab, that he might encounter him ; but Zal endeavoured to 
dissuade him from so hopeless an effort, saying, 

" My son, be wise, and peril not thyself ; 
Black is his banner, and his cuirass black 
His limbs are cased in iron on his head 
He wears an iron helm and high before him 
Floats the black ensign ; equal in his might 
To ten strong men, he never in one place 
Remains, but everywhere displays his power. 
The crocodile has in the rolling stream 
No safety ; and a mountain,' formed of steel, 
Even at the mention of Afrasiyab, 
Melts into water. Then, beware of him." 
Rustem replied : " Be not alarmed for me 
My heart, my arm, my dagger, are my castle, 
And Heaven befriends me let him but appear, 
Diagon or Demon, and the field is mine." 

Then Rustem valiantly urged Rakush towards the Tunluian 
army, and called out aloud. As soon as Afrasiyab beheld him, 
he inquired who he could be, and he was told, " This is Rustem, 
the son of Zal. Seest thou not in his hand the battle-axe of 
Sam ? The youth has come in search of renown." When the 
combatants closed, they struggled for some time together, and 
at length Rustem seized the girdle-belt of his antagonist, and 
threw him from his saddle. He wished to drag the captive as 
a trophy to Kai-kobdd, that his first great victory might bo 
remembered, but unfortunately the belt gave way, and Afra- 
siyab fell on the ground. Immediately the fallen chief was 
surrounded and rescued by his own warriors, but not before 
Rustem had snatched off his crown, and carried it away with 
the broken girdle which was left in his hand. And now a 
general engagement took place. Rustem being reinforced by 
the advance of the king, with Zdl and Mihnlb at his side, 


Both armies seemed so closely waging war. 
Thou wouldst have said,* that they were mixed together. 
The earth shook with the tramping of the steeds, 
Rattled the drums ; loud clamours from the troops 
Echoed around, and from the iron grasp 
Of warriors, many a life was spent in air. 
With his huge mace, cow-headed, Rustem dyed 
The ground with crimson and wherever seen, 
Urging impatiently his fiery horse, 
Heads severed fell like withered leaves in autumn. 
If. brandishing his sword, he struck the head, 
Horseman and steed were downward cleft in twain- 
And if his side-long blow was on the loins, 
The sword passed through, as easily as the blade 
Slices a cucumber. The blood of heroes 
Deluged the plain. On that tremendous day, 
With sword and dagger, battle-axe and noosc.f 
He cut, and tore, and broke, and bound the brave, 
Slaying and making captive. At one swoop 
More than a thousand fell by his own hand. 

Zal beheld his son with amazement and delight. The Ttini- 
nians left the fire- worshippers in possession of the field, and 
retreated towards the Jihun with precipitation, not a sound of 
drum or trumpet denoting their track. After halting three 
days in a state of deep dejection and misery, they continued 
their retreat along the banks of the Jilnin. The Persian army, 

* This mode of expression, so frequent in Firclausf, and which makes the 
reader a spectator of the scene described, is constantly to be met with in 
Homer. Longinus has pointed out its peculiar force and beauty, and gives 
the following observations on the subject "A very powerful dramatic efficacy 
arises from a change of persons, which frequently makes the hearer or reader 
imagine himself engaged in the midst of danger : 

"Thou wouldst have thought, so furious was their fire I 

No force could tame them, and no toil could tire." ILIAD, xv. 844. 

11 And where the discourse is addressed to an individual ; as in this example 

" Thou hadst not known with whom Tydidcs fought." ILIAD, v. 85. 

f Herodotus speaks of a people confederated with the army of Xerxes, who 
employed the noose. "Their principal dependance in action is upon cords 
made of twisted leather, which they use in this manner : when they engage an 
enemy, they throw out these cords, having a noose at the extremity ; if they 
entangle in them either horse or man, they without difficulty put them to 
death." Beloe's transl. Polymnia, Sec. 85. 


upon the flight of the enemy, fell bajk with their prisoners of 
war, ad Rustem was received by the king with distinguished 
honour. When Afrusiy;ib returned to his father, he communi- 
cated to him, with a heavy heart, the misfortunes of the battle, 
and the power that had been arrayed against him, dwelling 
with wonder and admiration on the stupendous valour of 

Seeing my sable banner, 
He to the fight came like a crocodile, 
Thou wouldst have said his breath searched up the plain ; 
He seized my girdle with such mighty force 
As if he would have torn my joints asunder ; 
And raised me from my saddle that I seemed 
An insect in his grasp but presently 
The golden girdle broke, and down I fell 
Ingloriously upon the dusty ground ; 
But J was rescued by my warrior train I 
Thou knowest my valour, how my nerves are strung, 
And may conceive the wondrous strength, whicli thus 
Sunk me to nothing. Iron is his frame, 
And marvellous his power ; peace, peace, alone 
Can save us and our country from destruction. 

Poshang, considering the luckless state of affairs, and the 
loss of so many valiant warriors, thought it prudent to ac- 
quiesce in the wishes of Afnlsiyiib, and sue for peace. To this 
end Wisah was intrusted with magnificent presents, and the 
overtures which in substance ran thus : " Mimichihr was re- 
venged upon Tiir and Selim for the death of Irij. Afrasiyiib 
again has revenged their death upon Nauder, the son of 
Minuchihr, and now Rustem has conquered Afnisiytib. But 
why should we any longer keep the world in confusion Why 
should we not be satisfied with what Feridiin, in his wisdom, 
decreed ? Continue in the empire which he appropriated to 
Irij, and let the Jihtm be the boundary between us, for are we 
not connected by blood, and of one family ? Let our kingdoms 
be gladdened with the blessings of peace." 

When these proposals of peace reached Kai-kobiid, the fol- 
lowing onswer was returned : 


" Well dost thou know that I was not the first 
To wage this war. From Tiir, thy ancestor, 
The str.fe began. Bethink tlice how he slew 
The gentle ' r 'J ^' s owu brother ; how, 
1 n these our da3*s. thy son, Af rsisiyab, 
Crossing the Jihun, with a numerous force 
Invaded Persia think how Nandcr died ! 
Not in the field of battle, like a hero, 
But murdered by thy son who, ever cruel, 
Afterwards stabbed his brother, young Aghriras, 
80 deeply mourned by thee. Yet do I thirst not 
For vengeance, or for strife. I yield the realm 
Beyond "the Jihun let that river be 
The boundary between us ; but thy son, 
Afrasiyab. must take his solemn oath 
Never to cross that limit, or disturb 
The Persian throne again ; thus pledged, I grant 
The peace solicited/' 

The messenger without delay conveyed this welcome intelli- 
gence to Poshang, and the Turanian army was in consequence 
immediately withdrawn within the prescribed line of division. 
Rustein, however, expostulated with the king against making 
peace at a time the most advantageous for war, and especially 
when he had just commenced his victorious career ; but Kai- 
kobild thought differently, and considered nothing equal to 
justice and tranquillity. Peace was accordingly concluded, and 
upon Rustem and Zal he conferred the highest honours, and 
his other warriors engaged in the late conflict also experienced 
the effects of his bounty and gratitude in an eminent degree. 

Kai-kobad then moved towards Persia, and establishing his 
throne at Istakhar,* he administered the affairs of his govern- 
ment with admirable benevolence and clemency, and with un- 

* Istakhar, also called Pcrsepolis, and Chchel-minar, or the Forty Pillara. 
This city was said to have been laid in ruins by Alexander after the conquest 
or Darius ; that, 

Thais led the way, 
And like another Helen fired another Troy. 


But this, for the credit of Alexander, does not appear to be the fact. M. 
Langlcs has shown that the destructioD of this renowned city was owing, long 
afterwards, to the fanatic Arabs. 


ceasing solicitude for the welfare of his subjects. In his eyes 
every one had an equal claim to consideration and justice. 
The strong had no power to oppress the weak. Alter lie had 
continued ten years at Istakhar, building towns and cities, and 
diffusing improvement and happiness over the land, he removed 
his throne into Iran. His reign lasted one hundred years, 
which were passed in the continual exercise of the most princely 
virtues, and the most munificent liberality. He had four sons : 
Kai-kaiis, Arish, Poshin, and Aramin ; and when the period of 
his dissolution drew nigh, he solemnly enjoined the eldest, whom 
he appointed his successor, to pursue steadily the path of in- 
tegrity and justice, and to be kind and merciful in the admini- 
stration of the empire left to his charge. 


When Kai-kuiis* ascended the throne of his father, the 
whole world was obedient to his will ; but he soon began to 
deviate from the wise customs and rules which had been recom- 
mended as essential to his prosperity and happiness. He 
feasted and drank wine continually with his warriors and chiefe, 
so that in the midst of his luxurious enjoyments he looked 

* Kai-kaus, the second King of Persia of the dynasty called Kuianides. lie 
succeeded Kai kobad, about six hundred years B.C. According to Firdausi he 
was a foolish tyrannical prince. He appointed Rustem captain-general of the 
armies, to which the lieutenant-generalship and the administration of the 
state was annexed, under the title of " the champion of the world." He also 
gave him a taj, or crown of gold, which kings only were accustomed to wear, 
and granted him the privilege of giving audience seated on a throne of gold. 

It is said that Kai-kaus applied himself much to the study of astronomy, 
and that he founded two great observatories, the one at Babel, and the other 
on the Tigris. Perhaps his reputed fondness for astronomical studies gave rise 
to the fable of his aerial excursion recorded further on. 


npon himself as superior to every being upon the face of the 
earth, and thus astonishsd the people, high and low, by his 
extravagance and pride. 

One day a Demon, disguised as a musician, waited npon the 
monarch, and playing sweetly on his harp, sung a song in praise 
of Mazindenin. 

And thus he warbled to the king 
" Mazinderan is the bower of spring, 
My native home ; the balmy air 
Diffuses health and fragrance there"; 
So tempered is the genial glow, 
Nor heat nor cold we ever know ; 
Tulips and hyacinths abound 
On every lawn ; and all around 
Blooms like a garden in its prime, 
Fostered by that delicious clime. 
The bulbul sits on every spray, 
And pours his soft melodious lay ; 
Each rural spot its sweets discloses, 
Each streamlet is the dew of roses ; 
And damsels, idols of the heart, 
Sustain a more bewitching part. 
And mark me, that untravelled man 
Who never saw Mazinderan, 
And all the charms its bowers possess, 
Has never tasted happiness ! " 

No sooner had Kai-kdiis heard this description of the country 
of Mazinderan than he determined to lead an army thither, 
declaring to his warriors that the splendour and glory of his 
reign should exceed that of either Jcmshid, Zohak, or Kai- 
kobad. The warriors however were alarmed at this precipitate 
resolution, thinking it certain destruction to make war against 
the Demons ; but they had not courage or confidence enough 
to disclose their real sentiments. They only ventured to 
suggest, that if his majesty reflected a little on the subject, he 
might not ultimately consider the enterprize so advisable as he 
had at first imagined. But this produced no impression, and 
they then deemed it expedient to despatch a messenger to Ztil, 
to inform him of the wild notions which the Evil One had put 
into the head of Kai-kaus to effect his ruin, imploring ZaJ to 


allow of no delay, otherwise the eminent services so lately per- 
formed by him and Rustem for the state would be rendered 
utterly useless and vain. Upon this summons, Zal imme- 
diately set off from Sistan to Iran ; and having arrived at the 
royal court, and been received with customary respect and con- 
sideration, he endeavoured to dissuade the king from the con- 
templated expedition into Mtizinderan. 

" 0, could I wash the darkness from thy mind, 
And show thee all the perils that surround 
This undertaking I Jemshkl, high in power, 
Whose diadem was brilliant as the sun, 
Who ruled the demons never in his pride 
Dreamt of the conquest of Mazinderan ! 
Remember Feridun, he overthrew 
Zohak destroyed the tyrant, but he never 
Thought of the conquest of Mazinderan ! 
This strange ambition never fired the souls 
Of by-gone monarchs mighty Minuchihr. 
Always victorious, boundless in his wealth, 
Nor Zau, nor Nauder, nor even Kai-kobad, 
With all their pomp, and all their grandeur, ever 
Dreamt of the conquest of Mazinderan ! 
It is the place of demon-sorcerers, 
And all enchanted. Swords are useless there, 
Nor bribery nor wisdom can obtain 
Possession of that charm-defended land, 
Then throw not men and treasure to the winds ; 
Waste not the precious blood of warriors brave, 
In trying to subdue Mazinderan ! " 

Kai-kaiis, however, was not to be diverted from his purpose ; 
and with respect to what his predecessors had not done, he 
considered himself superior in might and influence to either 
Feridun, Jemshid, Minuchihr, or Kai-kobad, who had never 
aspired to the conquest of Milzinderan. He further observed, 
that he had a bolder heart, a larger army, and a fuller trcasu-* 
than any of them, and the whole world was under his swry 

And what are all these Demon-charms, 

That they excite such dread alarms .' 
What is a Demon-host to me, 
Their magic spells and sorcery ? 
( >ne effort, and the field is won ; 
Then why should I the battle shun ? 


Be thou and Rustem (whilst afar 

I wage the soul-appalling war), 

The guardians of the kingdom ; Heaven 

To me hath its protection given ; 

And, when I reach the Demon's fort, 

Their severed heads shall be my sport 1 

When Zal became convinced of the unalterable resolution of 
Kai-kaus, he ceased to -oppose his views, and expressed his 
readiness to comply with whatever commands he might receive 
for the safety of the state. 

May all thy actions prosper mayst thou never 

Have cause to recollect my warning voice, 

"With sorrow or repentance. Heaven protect thee I 

Zal then took leave of the king and his warrior friends, and 
returned to Sistan, not without melancholy forebodings respect- 
ing the issue of the war against Mazinderan. 

As soon as morning dawned, the army was put in motion. 
The charge of the empire, and the keys of the treasury and 
jewel-chamber were left in the hands of Milad, with injunc- 
tions, however, not to draw a sword against any enemy that 
might spring up, without the consent and assistance of Z;il 
and Rustem. AVhen the army had arrived within the limits 
of Miizindcran, Kai-kaus ordered Giw to select two thousand 
of the bravest men, the boldest Avieldcrs of the battle-axe, and 
proceed rapidly towards the city. In his progress, according 
to the king's instructions, he burnt and destroyed every thing 
of value, mercilessly slaying man, woman, and child. For the 
king said : 

Kill all before thee, whether young or old, 

And turn their day to night ; thus free the world 

Fruin the magician's art. 

Proceeding .in his career of desolation and ruin, Giw came 
near to the city, and found it arrayed in all the splendour of 
heaven ; every street was crowded with beautiful women, richly 
adorned, and young damsels with faces as bright as the moon. 
The treasure-chamber was full of gold and jewels, and the 


country abounded with cattle. Information of this discovery 
was immediately sent to Kai-kiiiis, who was delighted to find 
that Mazinderan was truly a blessed region, the very garden 
of beauty, where the cheeks of the women seemed to be tinted 
with the hue of the pomegranate flower, by the gate-keeper of 

This invasion filled the heart of the king of Mazinderan 
with grief and alarm, and his first care was to call the gigantic 
White Demon to his aid. Meanwhile Kai-kaus, full of the 
wildest anticipations of victory, was encamped on the plain 
near the city in splendid state, and preparing to commence the 
final overthrow of the enemy on the following day. In the 
night, however, a cloud came, and deep darkness like pitch 
overspread the earth, and tremendous hail-stones poured down 
upon the Persian host, throwing them into the greatest con- 
fusion. Thousands were destroyed, others fled, and were scat- 
tered abroad in the gloom. The morning dawned, but it 
brought no light to the eyes of Kai-kaus ; and amidst the 
horrors he experienced, his treasury was captured, and the 
soldiers of his army either killed or made prisoners of war. 
Then did he bitterly lament that he had not followed the wise 
counsel of Zal. Seven days he was involved in this dreadful 
affliction, and on the eighth day he heard the roar of the White 
Demon, saying : 

' king, them art the willow-tree, all barren, 
With neither fruit, nor flower. What could induce 
The dream of conquering Mazinderan ? 
ITadst thou no friend to warn thee of thy folly ? 
Hadst thou not heard of the White Demon's power 
Of him, who from the gorgeous vault of Heaven 
Can charm the stars? From this mad enterprize 
Others have wisely shrunk and what hast thou 
Accomplished by a more ambitious course ? 
Thy soldiers have slain many, dire destruction 
And spoil have been their purpose thy wild will 
Has promptly been obeyed ; but thou art now 
Without an army, not one man remains 
To lift a sword, or stand in thy defence ; 
Not one to hear thy groans and thy despair." 


There were selected from the army twelve thousand of the 
demon-warriors, to take charge of and hold in custody the 
Iranian captives, all the chiefs, as well as the soldiers, being 
secured with bonds, and only allowed food enough to keep them 
alive. Arzang, one of the demon-leaders, having got possession 
of the wealth, the crown and jewels, belonging to Kai-kaiis, 
was appointed to escort the captive king and his troops, all 
of whom were deprived of sight, to the city of Mazinderan, 
where they were delivered into the hands of the monarch of 
that country. The White Demon, after thus putting an end to 
hostilities, returned to his own abode. 

Kai-kaiis, strictly guarded as he was, found an opportunity 
of sending an account of his blind and helpless condition to 
Z;il, in which he lamented that he had not followed his advice, 
and urgently requested him, if he was not himself in confine- 
ment, to come to his assistance, and release him from captivity. 
When Zitl heard the melancholy story, he gnawed the very skin 
of his body with vexation, and turning to Rustem, conferred 
with him in private. 

" The sword must be unsheathed, since Kai-kails 
Is bound a captive in the dragon's den, 
And Rakush must be saddled for the field, 
And thou must bear the weight of this cmpriza ; 
For I have lived two centuries, and old age 
Unfits me for the heavy toils of war. 
Should'st thou release the king, thy name will be 
Exalted o'er the earth. Then, don thy mail, 
And gain immortal honour." 

Rustem replied that it was a long journey to Mdzinderdn, 
and that the king had been six months on the road. Upon 
this Zal observed that there were two roads the most tedious 
one was that which Kai-kaiis had taken ; but by the other, 
which was full of dangers and difficulty, and lions, and demons, 
and sorcery, he might reach Mdzinderan in seven days, if he 
reached it at all. 

On hearing these words Rustem assented, and chose the 
short road, observing : 



" Although it is not wise, they say, 
With willing feet to track the way 
To hell ; though only men who've lost, 
All love of life, by misery crossed, 
Would rush into the tiger's lair, 
And die, poor reckless victims, there ; 
I gird my loins, whate'er may be, 
And trust in God for victory." 

On the following day, resigning himself to the protection of 
Heaven, he put on his war attire, and with his favourite horse, 
Rakush, properly caparisoned, stood prepared for the journey. 
His mother, Rudabeh, took leave of him with great sorrow ; 
and the young hero departed from Sistan, consoling himself 
and his friends, thus : 

" O'er him who seeks the battle-field, 

Nobly his prisoned king to free, 
Heaven will extend its saving shield, 
And crown his arms with victory." 


FIRST STAGE. He rapidly pursued his way, performing two 
days' journey in one, and soon came to a forest full of wild 
asses. Oppressed with hunger, he succeeded in securing one of 
them, which he roasted over a fire, lighted by sparks produced 
by striking the point of his spear, and kept in a blaze with 
dried grass and branches of trees. After regaling himself, and 
satisfying his hunger, he loosened the bridle of Rakush, and 
allowed him to graze ; and choosing a safe place for repose 
during the night, and taking care to have his sword under his 
head, he went to sleep among the reeds of that wilderness. In 
a short space a fierce lion appeared, and attacked Rakush with 


great violence ; but Rakush very speedily with his teeth and 
heels put an end to his furious assailant. Rustem, awakened 
by the confusion, and seeing the dead lion before him, said to 
his favourite companion : 

" Ah ! Rakush,* why so thoughtless grown, 

To fight a lion thus alone ; 

For had it been thy fate to bleed, 

And not thy foe, my gallant steed ! 

How could thy master have conveyed 

His helm, and battle-axe, and blade, 

Kamund, and bow, and buberyan, 

Unaided, to Mazinderan ? 

Why didst thou fail to give the alarm, 

And save thyself from chance of harm, 

By neighing loudly in my ear ; 

But though thy bold heart knows no fear, 

From such unwise exploits refrain, 

Nor try a lion's strength again." 

Saying this, Rustem laid down to sleep, and did not awake 
till the morning dawned. As the sun rose, he remounted 
Rakush, and proceeded on his journey towards Mazinderan. 

* Though Raknsli was a model of intelligence and sagacity, he could not 
speak, like Xanthus and Balius, the two horses of Achilles ! The former, 
prophesied the doom of Ins master. There is nothing therefore extravagant in 
Rustem addressing his horse so familiarly. 

" We may be assured, says Cowper, that it was customary for the Greeks 
occasionally to harangue their horses, for Homer was a poet too attentive to 
nature, to introduce speeches that would have appeared strange to his country- 
men. Hector addresses his horses in the eighth book, and Antilochus, in the 
chariot race, whose horses were not only of terrestrial origin, but the slowest 
in the camp of Greece. That Achilles, then, should have spoken to his steeds, 
is not surprising, seeing that they were of celestial seed." 

Aristotle and Pliny, write that these animals often deplore their masters 
lost in battle, and have shed tears for them and ^lian relates the same of 
elephants, who, like the Swiss, overcome with the maladie du, pays, weep in 
f;ir-oiT captivity to think of their native forests. Suetonius, in the life of 
Csesar, tells us that several horses which, at the passage of the Rubicon, had 
been consecrated to Mars, and turned loose on the banks, were observed some 
days after to abstain from feeding, and to weep abundantly. Virgil knew all 
this, and could not. therefore, forbear copying this beautiful circumstance in 
those fine lines on the horse of Pallas : 

Post Bell.'itor equus, positis insignibus, -Ethon 
It lacymans, guttisciue huiuectat granclibus ora. ..EN'KID, xi. 80. 

H 2 


SECOND STAGE. After travelling rapidly for some time, he 
entered a desert, in which no water was to be found, and the 
sand was so burning hot, that it seemed to be instinct with 
fire. Both horse and rider were oppressed with the most 
maddening thirst. Bustern alighted, and vainly wandered 
about in search of relief, till almost exhausted, he put up a 
prayer to Heaven for protection against the evils which 
surrounded him, engaged as he was in an enterprize for the 
release of Kai-kaiis and the Persian army, then in the power of 
the demons. With pious earnestness he besought the Almighty 
to bless him in the great work ; and whilst in a despairing 
mood he was lamenting his deplorable condition, his tongue 
and throat being parched with thirst, his body prostrate on the 
sand, under the influence of a raging sun, he saw a sheep pass 
by, which he hailed as the harbinger of good. Rising up and 
grasping his sword in his hand, he followed the animal, and 
came to a fountain of water, where he devoutly returned thanks 
to God for the blessing which had preserved his existence, and 
prevented the wolves from feeding on his lifeless limbs. Re- 
freshed by the cool water, he then looked out for something to 
allay his hunger, and killing a gor, he lighted a fire and roasted 
it, and regaled upon its savoury flesh, which he eagerly tore 
from the bones. 

When the period of rest arrived, Rustem addressed Rakush, 
and said to him angrily : 

" Beware, my steed, of future strife. 
Again thou must not risk thy life ; 
Encounter not with lion fell, 
Nor demon still more terrible ; 
But should an enemy appear, 
Ring loud the warning in my ear.' 

After delivering these injunctions, Rustem laid down to 
sleep, leaving Rakush unbridled, and at liberty to crop the 
herbage close by. 

THIRD STAGE. At midnight a monstrous dragon -serpent 
issued from the forest ; it was eighty yards in length, and so 


fierce, that neither elephant, nor demon, nor lion, ever ventured 
to pass by its lair. It came forth, and seeing the champion 
asleep, and a horse near him, the latter was the first object of 
attack. But Rakush retired towards his master, and neighed 
and beat the ground so furiously, that Rustem soon awoke ; 
looking round on every side, however, he saw nothing the 
dragon had vanished, and he went to sleep again. Again the 
dragon burst out of the thick darkness, and again Rakush was 
at the pillow of his master, who rose up at the alarm : but 
anxiously trying to penetrate the dreary gloom, he saw nothing 
all was a blank ; and annoyed at this apparently vexatious 
conduct in his horse, he spoke sharply : 

" Why thus again disturb my rest, 

When sleep had softly soothed my breast ? 

a. told thee, if thou chanced to see 

Another dangerous enemy, 

To sound the alarm ; but not to keep 

Depriving me of needful sleep ; 

When nothing meets the eye ftor ear, 

Nothing to cause a moment's fear ! 

But if again my rest is broke, 

On thee shall fall the fatal stroke, 

And I myself will drag this load 

Of ponderous arms along the road ; 

Yes, I will go, a lonely man, 

Without thee, to Mazinderan." 

Rustem again went to sleep, and Rakush was resolved this 
time not to move a step from his side, for his heart was grieved 
and afflicted by the harsh words that had been addressed to 
him. The dragon again appeared, and the faithful horse 
almost tcro up the earth with his heels, to rouse his sleeping 
master. Rustem again awoke, and sprang to his feet, and was 
again angry ; but fortunately at that moment sufficient light 
was providentially given for him to see the prodigious cause of 

Then swift he drew his sword, and closed in strife 
With that huge monster. Dreadful was the shock 
And perilous to Rustem ; but when Rakush 
Perceived the contest doubtful, f uriously, 


With his keen teeth, he bit and tore away 

The dragon's scaly hide ; whilst quick as thought 

The Champion severed off the ghastly head, 

And deluged all the plain with horrid blood. 

Amazed to see a form so hideous 

Breathless stretched out before him, he retarded 

Thanks to the Omnipotent for his success, 

Saying " Upheld by thy protecting arm, 

What is a lion's strength, a demon's rage, 

Or all the horrors of the burning desert, 

With not one drop to quench devouring thirst ? 

Nothing, since power and might proceed from Thee. 

FOURTH STAGE. Rustem having resumed the saddle, con- 
tinued his journey through an enchanted territory, and in the 
evening came to a beautifully green spot, refreshed by flowing 
rivulets, where he found, to his surprise, a ready-roasted deer, 
and some bread and salt. He alighted, and sat down near the 
enchanted provisions, which vanished at the sound of his voice, 
and presently a tambourine met his eyes, and a flask of wine. 
Taking up the instrument he played upon it, and chaunted a 
ditty about his own wanderings, and the exploits which he 
most loved. He said that he had no pleasure in banquets, but 
only in the field fighting with heroes and crocodiles in war. 
The song happened to reach the ears of a sorceress, who, 
arrayed in all the charms of beauty, suddenly approached him, 
and sat down by his side. The champion put up a prayer of 
gratitude for having been supplied with food and wine, and 
music, in the desert of Miizindcrun, and not knowing that the 
enchantress was a demon in disguise, he placed in her hands a 
cup of wine in the name of God ; but at the mention of the 
Creator, the enchanted form was converted into a black fiend. 
Seeing this, Rustem threw his kamund, and secured the demon ; 
and, drawing his sword, at once cut the body in two ! 


From thence proceeding onward, he approached 

A region destitute of light, a void 

Of utter darkness. Neither moon nor star 


Pecp'd through the gloom ; no choice of path remained, 

And therefore, throwing loose the rein, he gave 

Rakush the power to travel on, unguided. 

At length the darkness was dispersed, the earth 

Became a scene, joyous and light, and gay, 

Covered with waving corn there Rustem paused 

And quitting his good steed among the gras<, 

Laid himself gently down, and, wearied, slept ; 

His shield beneath his head, his sword before him. 

When the keeper of the forest first saw the stranger and his 
horse, he went to Rustem, then asleep, and struck his staff 
violently on the ground, and having thus awakened the herq 
he asked him, devil that he was, why be had allowed his horse 
to feed upon the green corn-field. Angry at these words, 
Rustem, without uttering a syllable, seized hold of the keeper 
by the ears, and wrung them off. The mutilated wretch, 
gathering up his severed ears, hurried away, covered with 
blood, to his master, Auldd, and told him of the injury he had 
sustained from a man like a black demon, with a tiger-skin 
cuirass and an iron helmet ; showing at the same time the 
bleeding witnesses of his sufferings. Upon being informed of 
this outrageous proceeding, Aiilad, burning with wrath, sum- 
moned together his fighting men, and hastened by the directions 
of the keeper to the place where Rustem had been found asleep. 
The champion received the angiy lord of the land, fully pre- 
pared, on horseback, and heard him demand his name, that he 
might not 'slay a worthless antagonist, and why he had torn off 
the ears of his forest-keeper ! Rustem replied that the very 
sound of his name would make him shudder with horror 
Aiilad then ordered his troops to attack Rustem, and they 
rushed upon him with great fury ; but their leader was 
presently killed by the master -hand, and great numbers were 
also scattered lifeless over the plain. The survivors running 
away, Rustem's next object was to follow and secure, by his 
kamund, the person of Aulad, and with admirable address and 
ingenuity, he succeeded in dismounting him and taking him 
alive. He then bound his hands, and said to him : 


" If thou wilt speak the truth unmixed with lies, 

Unmixed with false prevaricating words, 

And faithfully point out to me the caves 

Of the White Demon and his warrior chiefs 

And where Kaus is prisoned thy reward 

JShall be the kingdom of Mazinderan ; 

For I, myself, will place thee on that throne. 

But if thou play'st me false thy worthless blood 

Shall answer for the foul deception." 

" Stay, 

Be not in wrath," Aiilad at once replied, 
" Thy wish shall be fulfilled and thou shalt know 
Where king Kaiis is prisoned and, beside, 
Where the White Demon reigns. Between two dark 
And lofty mountains, in two hundred caves 
Immeasurably deep, his people dwell. 
Twelve hundred Demons keep the watch by night 
Upon the mountain's brow ; their chiefs, Puh'ul, 
And Baid, and Sinja. Like a reed, the hills 
Tremble whenever the White Demon moves. 
But dangerous is the way. A stony desert 
Lies full before thee, which the nimble deer 
Has never passed. Then a prodigious stream 
Two farsangs wide obstructs thy path, whose banks 
Are covered with a host of warrior- Demons. 
Guarding the passage to Mazinderan ; 
And thou art but a single man canst thou 
O'ercome such fearful obstacles as these ? 

At this the Champion smiled. " Shew but the way, 
And thou shalt see what one man can perform, 
With power derived from God ! Lead on, with speed, 
To royal Kaiis." With obedient haste 
Aiilad proceeded, Rustem following fast, 
Mounted on Rakush. Neither dismal night 
Nor joyous day they rested on they went 
Until at length they reached the fatal field, 
Where Kaus was o'ercome. At midnight hour, 
Whilst watching with attentive eye and ear, 
A piercing clamour echoed all around, 
And blazing fires were seen, and numerous lamps 
Burnt bright on every side. Rustem inquired 
What this might be. " It is Mazinderan," 
Aiilad rejoined, "and the White Demon's chiefs 
Are gathered there. Then Rustem to a tree 
Bound his obedient guide to keep him safe, 
And to recruit his strength, laid down awhile 
And soundly slept. 

When morning dawned, he rose, 
And mounting Rakush, put his helmet on, 
The tiger-skin defended his broad chest, 
And sallying forth, he sought the Demon chief, 

THE snln NAMEIT. 105 

Arzang, and summoned him with such a ronr 

That' stream and mountain shook. Arzang sprang up, 

Hearing a human voice, and from his tent 

Indignant issued him the champion met, 

And clutched his arms and ears, and from his body 

Tore off the gory head, and cast it far 

Amidst the shuddering Demons, who with fear 

Shrunk hack and fled, precipitate, lest they 

bhould likewise feel that dreadful punishment. 

SIXTH STAGE. After this achievement Rustem returned to 
the place where he had left Aultid, and having released him, 
sat down under the tree and related what he had done. He 
then commanded his guide to shew the way to the place where 
Kai-kaus was confined ; and when the champion entered the 
city of Mazinderan, the neighing of Rakush was so loud that 
the sound distinctly reached the ears of the captive monarch. 
Kaiis rejoiced, and said to his people : " I have heard the voice 
of Rakush, and my misfortunes are at an end ; " but they 
thought he was either insane or telling them a dream. The 
actual appearance of Rnstem, however, soon satisfied them. 
Giidarz, and Tus, and Bahrain, and Giw, and Gustahem, were 
delighted to meet him, and the king embraced him with great 
warmth and affection, and heard from him with admiration the 
story of his wonderful progress and exploits. But Kdiis and 
his warriors, under the influence and spells of the Demons, 
were still blind, and he cautioned Rustem particularly to con- 
ceal Rakush from the sight of the sorcerers, for if the "White 
Demon should hear of the slaughter of Arzang, and the 
conqueror being at Mazinderan, he would immediately assemble 
an overpowering army of Demons, and the consequences might 
be terrible. 

" But thou must storm the cavern of the Demons 
And their gigantic chief great need there is 
For sword and battle-axe and with the aid 
Of Heaven, these miscreant sorcerers may fall 
Victims to thy avenging might. The road 
Is straight before thee reach the Seven Mountains, 
And there thou wilt discern the various groups, 
Which guard the awful passage. Further on, 

106 THE Sit AH NAMEH. 

Within a deep and horrible recess, 
Frowns the White Demon conquer him destroy 
That fell magician, and restore to sight 
Thy suffering king, and all his warrior train. 
The wise in cures declare, that the warm blood 
From the White Demon's heart, dropped in the eye, 
Removes all blindness it is, then, my hope, 
Favoured by God, that thou wilt slay the fiend, 
And save us from the misery we endure, 
The misery of darkness without end." 

Rustem accordingly, after having warned his friends and 
companions in arms to keep on the alert, prepared for the 
enterprise, and guided by Aiilad, hurried on till he came to 
the Haft-koh, or Seven Mountains. There he found numerous 
companies of Demons ; and coming to one of the caverns, saw 
it crowded with the same awful beings. And now consulting 
with Aiilad, he was informed that the most advantageous time 
for attack would be when the sun became hot, for then all the 
Demons were accustomed to go to sleep, with the exception of 
a very small number who were appointed to keep watch. He 
therefore waited till the sun rose high in the firmament ; and 
as soon as he had bound Aultid to a tree hand and foot, with 
the thongs of his kamund, drew his sword, and rushed among 
the prostrate Demons, dismembering and slaying all that fell 
in his way. Dreadful was the carnage, and those who survived 
fled in the wildest terror from the champion's fury. 

SEVENTH STAGE. Rustem now hastened forward to encounter 
the White Demon. 

Advancing to the cavern, he looked down 
And saw a gloomy place, dismal as hell ; 
But not one cursed, impious sorcerer 
Was visible in that infernal depth. 
Awhile he stood his falchion in his grasp, 
And rubbed his eyes to sharpen his dim sight, 
And then a mountain-form, covered with hair, 
Filling up all the space, rose into view. 
The monster was asleep, but presently 
The daring shouts of Rustem broke his rest, 
And brought him suddenly upon his feet, 
When seizing a huge mill-stone, forth he came, 
And thus accosted the intruding chief : 


" Art. tho-i so tired of life, that reckless thus 

Thou dost invade the precincts of tba Demons? 

Tell me thy name, that I may not destroy 

A nameless thing ! " The champion stern replied, 

" My name is llustem sent by Zal, my father, 

Descended from the champion Sam Suvviir. 

To be revenged ou thee the King of Persia 

Being now a prisoner in Ma/inderan." 

When the accursed Demon heard the name 

Of Sam Suwar, he, like a serpent, writhed 

In agDiiy of spirit ; terrified 

At that announcement then, recovering strength, 

He forward sprang, and hurled the mill-sioue huge 

Against his adversary, who fell back 

And disappointed the prodigious blow. 

Black frowned the Demon, and through Eastern's heart 

A wild sensation ran of dire alarm ; 

But. rousing up, his courage was revived, 

And wielding furiously his beaming sword, 

He pierced the Demon's thigh, and lopped the limb ; 

Then both together grappled, and the cavern 

Shook with the contest each, at times, prevailed ; 

The flesh of both was torn, and streaming blood 

Crimsoned the earth. " If I survive this day," 

Said Rustem in his heart, in that dread strife, 

" My life must be immortal." The White Demon, 

With equal terror, muttered to himself : 

" I now despair of life sweet life ; no more 

Shall I be welcomed at Mdzinderan." 

And still they struggled hard still sweat and blood 

Poured down at every strain. Rustem, at last, 

Gathering fresh power, vouchsafed by favouring Heaven 

And bringing all his mighty strength to bear, 

Raised up the gasping Demon in his arms, 

And with such fury dashed him to the ground, 

That life no longer moved his monstrous frame. 

Promptly he then tore out the reeking heart, 

And crowds of demons simultaneous fell 

As part of him, and stained the earth with gore ; 

Others who saw this signal overthrow, 

Trembled, and hurried from the scene of blood] 

Then the great victor, issuing from that cave 

"\Yith pious haste took off his helm, ai.d mail, 

And royal girdle and with water washed 

His face and body choosing a pure place 

For prayer to praise his Maker Him who gave 

The victory, the eternal source of good ; 

Without whose grace and blessing, what is man 1 

With it his armour is impregnable. 

The Champion having finished his prayer, resumed his war 

108 TttE SIIAII XAMEtt. 

habiliments, and going to Aiilai, released him from the tree, 
and gave into his charge the heart of the White Demon. He . 
then pursued his journey back to Ktius at Mazinderan. On 
the way Aiilad solicited some reward for the services he had 
performed, and Rustem again promised that he should lie 
appointed governor of the country. 

" But first the monarch of Mazinderan. 
The Demon-king, must be subdued, and cast 
Into the yawning cavern and his legions 
Of foul enchanters, utterly destroyed." 

Upon his arrival at Mazinderan, Rustem related to his 
sovereign all that he had accomplished, and especially that he 
had torn out and brought away the White Demon's heart, the 
blood of which was destined to restore Ivai-kaiis and his 
warriors to sight. Rustem was not long in applying the 
miraculous remedy, and the moment the blood touched their 
eyes, the fearful blindness was perfectly cured. 

The champion brought the Demon's heart, 
And squeezed the blood from every part, 
Which, dropped upon the injured sight, 
Made all things visible and bright ; 
One moment broke that magic gloom. 
Which seemed more dreadful than the tomb. 

The monarch immediately ascended his throne surrounded 
by all his warriors, and seven days were spent in mutual con- 
gratulations and rejoicing. On the eighth day they all resumed 
the saddle, and proceeded to complete the destruction of the 
enemy. They set fire to the city, and burnt it to the ground, 
and committed such horrid carnage among the remaining 
magicians that streams, of loathsome blood crimsoned all the 

Kaiis afterwards sent Ferhad as an ambassador to the king 
of Mazinderan, suggesting to him the expediency of submission, 
and representing to him the terrible fall of Arzang, and of the 
"White Demon with all his host, as a warning against resistance 


to the valour of Rustem. But when the king of Mazinderan 
heard from Ferhtid the purpose of his embassy, he expressed 
great astonishment, and replied that he himself was superior in 
all respects to Kalis ; that his empire was more extensive, and 
his warriors more numerous and brave. " Have I not," said 
he, " a hundred war-elephants, and Kalis not one ? Wherever 
I move, conquest marks my way ; why then should I fear the 
sovereign of Persia ? Why should I submit to him ? " 

This haughty tone made a deep impression upon Ferhad, 
who returning quickly, told Kaiis of the proud bearing and 
fancied power of the ruler of Mazinderan. Rustem was imme- 
diately sent for ; and so indignant was he on hearing the 
tidings, that " every hair on his body started up like a spear," 
and he proposed to go himself with a second despatch. The 
king was too much pleased to refuse, and another letter was 
written more urgent than the first, threatening the enemy to 
hang up his severed head on the walls of his own fort, if he 
persisted in his contumacy and scorn of the offer made. 

As soon as Rustem had come within a short distance of the 
court of the king of Mazinderan, accounts reached his majesty 
of the approach of another ambassador, when a deputation of 
warriors was sent to receive him. Rustem observing them, 
and being in sight of the hostile army, with a view to shew his 
strength, tore up a large tree on the road by the roots, and 
dexterously wielded it in his hand like a spear. Tilting on- 
wards, he flung it down before the wondering enemy, and one 
of the chiefs then thought it incumbent upon him to display 
his own prowess. He advanced, and offered to grasp hands 
with Rustem : they met ; but the gripe of the champion was 
so excruciating that the sinews of his adversary cracked, and 
in agony he fell from his horse. Intelligence of this discom- 
fiture was instantly conveyed to the king, who then summoned 
his most valiant and renowned chieftain, Kalahur, and directed 
him to go and punish, signally, the warrior who had thus pre- 
sumed to triumph over one of his heroes. Accordingly Kalahiir 
appeared, and boastingly stretched out his hand, which Rustem 


wrung with such grinding force, that the very nails dropped 
off, and blood started from his body. This was enough, and 
Kalahiir hastily returned to the king, and anxiously recom- 
mended him to submit to terms, as it would be in vain to 
oppose such invincible strength. The king was both grieved 
and angry at this situation of affairs, and invited the ambassa- 
dor to his presence. After inquiring respecting Kaus and the 
Persian army, he said : 

" And thon art Rustem, clothed with mighty power, 
Who slaughtered the White Demon, and now cotnest 
To crush the monarch of Mazinderan ! " 
" No ! " said the champion, " I am but his servant, 
And even unworthy of that noble station ; 
My master being a warrior, the most valiant 
That ever graced the world since time began. 
Nothing am I ; but what doth he resemble 1 
What is a lion, elephant, or demon ! 
Engaged in fight, he is himself a host ! " 

The ambassador then tried to convince the king of the folly 
of resistance, and of his certain defeat if he continued to defy 
the power of Kaiis and the bravery of Rustem ; but the effort 
was fruitless, and both states prepared for battle. 

The engagement which ensued was obstinate and sanguinary, 
and after seven days of hard fighting, neither army was vic- 
torious, neither defeated. Afflicted at this want of success, 
Kaiis grovelled in the dust, and prayed fervently to the 
Almighty to give him the triumph. He addressed all his 
warriors, one by one, and urged them to increased exertions ; 
and on the eighth day, when the battle was renewed, prodigies 
3f valour were performed. Eustem singled out, and encoun- 
tered the king of Mazinderan, and fiercely they fought together 
with sword and javelin ; but suddenly, just as he was rushing 
on with overwhelming force, his adversary, by his magic art, 
transformed himself into a stony rock. Rustem and the Persian 
warriors were all amazement. The fight had been suspended 
for some time, when Kaus came forward to enquire the cause ; 
and hearing with astonishment of the transformation, ordered 


his soldiers to drag the enchanted mass towards his own tent ; 
but all the strength that could be applied was unequal to move 
so great a weight, till Eustem set himself to the task, and 
amidst the wondering army, lifted up the rock and conveyed 
it to the appointed place. He then addressed the work of 
sorcery, and said : " If thou dost not resume thy original 
shape, I will instantly break thee, flinty-rock as thou now art, 
into atoms, and scatter thee in the dust." The magician-king 
was alarmed by this threat, and re-appeared in his own form, and 
then Rustem, seizing his hand, brought him to Kaiis, who, as 
a punishment for his wickedness and atrocity, ordered him to 
be slain, and his body to be cut into a thousand pieces ! The 
wealth of the country was immediately afterwards secured ; and 
at the recommendation of Eustem, Aiilad was appointed 
governor of Mdzinderan. After the usual thanksgivings and 
rejoicings on account of the victory, Kaiis and his warriors 
returned to Persia, where splendid honours and rewards were 
bestowed on every soldier for his heroic services. Eustem 
having received the highest acknowledgments of his merit, took 
leave, and returned to his father Zal at Zabulistiin. 

Suddenly an ardent desire arose in the heart of Kaiis to 
survey all the provinces and states of his empire. He wished 
to visit Tiirtin, and Chin, and Mikran, and Berber, and Zirra. 
Having commenced his royal tour of inspection, he found the 
king of Berberistau in a state of rebellion, with his army pre- 
pared to dispute his authority. A severe battle was the conse- 
quence ; but the refractory sovereign was soon compelled to 
retire, and the elders of the city came forward to sue for mercy 
and protection. After this triumph, Kaiis turned toAvards the 
mountain Kaf, and visited various other countries, and in his 
progress became the guest of the son of Zal in Ziibulistan, where 
he staid a month, enjoying the pleasures of the festive board 
and the sports of the field. 

The disaffection of the king of Hjimilveran, in league with 
the king of Misser and Shtiui, and the still hostile king of 
Berberisttln, soon, however, drew him from Kimrtiz, and 


quitting the principality of Rustem, his arms were promptly 
directed against his new enemy, who in the contest which 
ensued, made an obstinate resistance, but was at length over- 
powered, and obliged to ask for quarter. After the battle, 
Kdiis was informed that the shah had a daughter of great 
, beauty, named Sudaveh, possessing a form as graceful as the 
tall cypress, musky ringlets, and all the charms of Heaven. 
From the description of this damsel he became enamoured, and 
through the medium of a messenger, immediately offered him- 
self to be her husband. The father did not seem to be glad at 
this proposal, observing to the messenger, that he had but two 
things in life valuable to him, and those were his daughter and 
his property ; one was his solace and delight, and the other his 
support ; to be deprived of both would be death to him ; still 
he could not gainsay the wishes of a king of such power, and 
his conqueror. He then sorrowfully communicated the overture 
to his child, who however readily consented ; and in the course 
of a week, the bride was sent escorted by soldiers, and accom- 
panied by a magnificent cavalcade, consisting of a thousand 
horses and mules, a thousand camels, and numerous female 
attendants. "When Siida" veh descended from her litter, glowing 
with beauty, with her rich dark tresses flowing to her feet, and 
cheeks like the rose, Kaus regarded her with admiration and 
rapture ; and so impatient was he to possess that lovely treasure, 
that the marriage rites were performed according to the laws of 
the country without delay. 

The shah of Hiimtiveran, however, was not satisfied, and he 
continually plotted within himself how he might contrive to 
regain possession of Sudaveh, as well as be revenged upon the 
king. With this view he invited Kalis to be his guest for a 
while ; but Sudaveh cautioned the king not to trust to the 
treachery which dictated the invitation, as she apprehended 
from it nothing but mischief and disaster. The warning, how- 
ever, was of no avail, for KMs accepted the proffered hospitality 
of his new father-in-law. He accordingly proceeded with his 
bride and his most famous warriors to the city, where he was 


received and entertained in the most sumptuous manner, seated 
on a gorgeous throne, and felt infinitely exhilarated with the 
magnificence and the hilarity by which he was surrounded. 
Seven days were passed in this glorious banqueting and de- 
light ; but on the succeeding night, the sound of trumpets and 
the war-cry was heard. The intrusion of soldiers changed the 
face of the scene ; and the king, who had just been waited on, 
and pampered with such respect and devotion, was suddenly 
seized, together with his principal warriors, and carried off to 
a remote fortress, situated on a high mountain, where they 
were imprisoned, and guarded by a thousand valiant men. 
His tents were plundered, and all his treasure taken away. At 
this event his wife was inconsolable and deaf to all entreaties 
from her father, declaring that she preferred death to separa- 
tion from her husband ; upon which she was conveyed to the 
same dungeon, to mingle groans with the captive king. 

Alas ! how false and fickle is the world, 
Friendship nor pleasure, nor the ties of blood, 
Can check the headlong course of human pas.Mo'is ; 
Treachery still laughs at kindred ; who is safe 
In this tumultuous sphere of strife and sorrow 1 


The intelligence of Kaiis's imprisonment was very soon 
spread through the world, and operated as a signal to all the 
inferior states to get possession of Ira"n. Afrasiytib was the 
most powerful aspirant to the throne ; and gathering an 
immense army, he hurried from Turan, and made a rapid 
incursion into the country, which after three months he 
succeeded in conquering, scattering ruin and desolation where- 
ever he came. 



Some of those who escaped from the field bent their steps 
towards Zabulistan, by whom Eustem was informed of the 
misfortunes in which Kaiis was involved ; it therefore became 
necessary that he should again endeavour to effect the libera- 
tion of his sovereign ; and accordingly, after assembling his 
troops from different quarters, the first thing he did was to 
dispatch a messenger to Hamaveran, with a letter, demanding 
the release of the prisoners ; and in the event of a refusal, de- 
claring the king should suffer the same fate as the White Demon 
and the magician-monarch of Mazindcran. Although this 
threat produced considerable alarm in the breast of the king of 
Haniaveran, he arrogantly replied, that if Eustem wished to be 
placed in the same situation as Kaiis, he was welcome to come 
as soon as he liked. 

Upon hearing this defiance, Eustem left Zabulistan, and after 
an arduous journey by land and water, arrived at the confines 
of Hamaveran. The king of that country, roused by the noise 
and uproar, and bold aspect of the invading army, drew up his 
own forces, and a battle ensued, but he was unequal to stand 
his ground before the overwhelming courage of Eustem. His 
troops fled in confusion, and then almost in despair he anxiously 
solicited assistance from the chiefs of Berber and Misser, which 
was immediately given. Thus three kings and their armies 
were opposed to the power and resources of one man. Their 
formidable array covered an immense space. 

Each proud his strongest force to bring, 
The eagle of valour flapped his wing. 

But when the king of Hamaveran beheld the person of 
Eustem in all its pride and strength, and commanding power, 
he paused with apprehension and fear, and intrenched himself 
well behind his own troops. Eustem, on the contrary, was full 
of confidence. 

" What, though there be a hundred thousand men 
Pitched against one, what use is there in numbers 
"When Heaven is on my side : with Heaven my friend. 
The foe will soon be mingled with the dust." 


Having ordered the trumpets to sound, he rushed on the 
enemy, mounted on Rakush, and committed dreadful havoc 
among them. 

It would be difficult to tell 

How many heads, dissevered, fell, 

Fighting his dreadful way ; 
On every side his falchion gleamed, 
Hot blood in every quarter streamed 

On that tremendous day. 

The chief of Hamaveran and his legions were the first to 
shrink from the conflict ; and then the king of Misser, ashamed 
of their cowardice, rapidly advanced towards the champion 
with the intention of punishing him for his temerity, but 
had no sooner received one of Eustem's hard blows on his head, 
than he turned to flight, and thus hoped to escape the fury of 
his antagonist. That fortune, however, was denied him, for 
being instantly pursued, he was caught with the kamund, or 
noose, thrown - round his loins, dragged from his horse, and 
safely delivered into the hands of Bahrain, who bound him, 
and kept him. by his side. 

Ring within ring the lengthening kamund flew, 
And from his steed the astonished monarch drew. 

Having accomplished this signal capture, Eustem proceeded 
against the troops under the shah of Berberist<in, which, 
valorously aided as he was, by Zuiira, he soon vanquished and 
dispatched ; and impelling Rakush impetuously forward upon 
the shah himself, made him and forty of his principal chiefs 
prisoners of war. The king of Hamjlveran, seeing the horrible 
carnage, and the defeat of all his expectations, speedily sent a 
messenger to Rustem, to solicit a suspension of the fight, 
offering to deliver up Kaiis and all his warriors, and all the 
regal property and treasure which had been plundered from him. 
The troops of the three kingdoms also urgently prayed for 
quarter and protection, and Rustem readily agreed to the 
proffered conditions, 

l 3 


" Kniis to liberty restore, 
With all his chiefs, I ask no rnore ; 
For him alone I conquering came ; 
Than him no other prize I claim." 


It was a joyous day when Kaiis and his illustrious heroes 
were released from their fetters, and removed from the moun- 
tain-fortress in which they were confined. Rustem forthwith 
reseated him on his throne, and did not fail to collect for the 
public treasury all the valuables of the three states which had 
submitted to his power. The troops of Misser, Berberistan, 
and Hamaveran, having declared their allegiance to the Persian 
king, the accumulated numbers increased Kaiis's army to up- 
wards of three hundred thousand men, horse and foot, and 
with this immense force he moved towards Iran. Before 
marching, however, he sent a message to Afriisiyab, command- 
ing him to quit the country he had so unjustly invaded, and 
recommending him to be contented with the territory of 

" Hast thou forgotten Eustem's power, 
When thou wert in that perilous hour 
By him o'erthrown ? Thy girdle broke, 
Or thou haclst felt the conqueror's yoke. 
Thy crowding warriors proved thy shield, 
They saved and dragged thee from the field ; 
By them unrescued then, would'st thou 
Have lived to vaunt thy prowess now? " 

This message :vas received with bitter feelings of resentment 1 y 
Afnisiyab, who prepared his army for battle without delay, atd 
promised to bestow his daughter in marriage and a kingdom upon 
the man who should succeed in taking Rustem alive. This pro- 
clamation was a powerful excitement : and when the engage- 


ment took place, mighty efforts were made for the reward ; but 
those who aspired to deserve it were only the first to fall. 
Afrasiysib beholding the fall of so many of his chiefs, dashed 
forward to cope with the champion : but his bravery was 
unavailing ; for, suffering sharply under the overwhelming 
attacks of llustem, he was glad to effect his escape, and retire 
from the field. In short, he rapidly retraced his steps to Turan, 
leaving Kaiis in full possession of the kingdom. 

With anguish stricken, he regained his home, 
.After a wild and ignominious flight ; 
The world presenting nothing to his lips 
But poison-beverage ; all was death to him. 

Kiiiis being again seated on the throne of Persia, he resumed 
the administration of affairs with admirable justice and liber- 
ality, and despatched some of his most distinguished warriors 
to secure the welfare and prosperity of the states of Mervi, and 
Balkh, and Nishapiir, and Hirat. At the same time he con- 
ferred on Rustem the title of Jahaui Pahlvdn, or, Champion of 
the World. 

In safety now from foreign and domestic enemies, Kaiis 
turned his attention to pursuits very different from war and 
conquest. He directed the Demons to construct two splendid 
palaces on the mountain Alberz, and separate mansions for the 
accommodation of his household, which he decorated in the 
most magnificent manner. All the buildings were beautifully 
arranged both for convenience and pleasure ; and gold and 
silver and precious stones were used so lavishly, and the bril- 
liancy produced by their combined effect was so great, that 
night and day appeared to be the same. 

Iblis, ever active, observing the vanity and ambition of the 
king, was not long in taking advantage of the circumstance, 
and he soon persuaded the Demons to enter into his schemes. 
Accordingly one of them, disguised as a domestic servant, 
was instructed to present a nosegay to Kaiis ; and after re.. 
Bpectf ully kissing the ground, say to him ;-- 


" Thou art great as king can be, 
Boundless in thy majesty ; 
What is all this earth to thee, 

All beneath the sky 1 
Peris, mortals, demons, hear 
Thy commanding voice with fear ; 
Thou art lord of all things here, 

But, thou canst not fly 1 

That remains for thee ; to know 
Things above, as things below, 

How the planets roll ; 
How the sun his light displays, 
How the moon darts forth her rays ; 
How the nights succeed the days ; 
What the secret cause betrays, 

And who directs the v, hole ! ' 

This artful address of the Demon satisfied Ktius of the 
imperfection of his nature, and the enviable power which he 
had yet to obtain. To him, therefore, it became matter of 
deep concern, how he might be enabled to ascend the Heavens 
without wings, and for that purpose he consulted his astro- 
logers, who presently suggested a way in which his desires 
might be successfully accomplished. 

They contrived to rob an eagle's nest of its young, which 
they reared with great care, supplying them well with in- 
vigorating food, till they grew large and strong. A frame- 
work of aloes-wood was then prepared ; and at each of the 
four corners was fixed perpendicularly, a javelin, surmounted 
on the point with flesh of a goat. At each corner again one 
of the eagles was bound, and in the middle Kaiis was seated 
in great pomp with a goblet of wine before him. As soon 
as the eagles became hungry, they endeavoured to get at the 
goat's flesh upon the javelins, and by flapping their wings 
and flying upwards, they quickly raised up the throne from 
the ground. Hunger still pressing them, and still being 
distant from their prey, they ascended higher and higher in 
the clouds, conveying the astonished king far beyond his 
own country ; but after long and fruitless exertion their 
strength failed them, and unable to keep their way, the whole 


fabric came tumbling down from the sky, and fell upon a 
dreary solitude in the kingdom of Chin. There Kiius was 
left, a prey to hunger, alone, and in utter despair, until he 
was discovered by a band of Demons, whom his anxious 
ministers had sent in search of him. 

Iiustem, and Giidarz, and TUB, at length heard of what had 
befallen the king, and with feelings of sorrow not unmixed 
with indignation, set off to his assistance. "Since I was 
born," said Giidarz, "never did I see such a man as Kaus. 
He seems to be entirely destitute of reason and understand- 
ing ; always in distress and affliction. This is the third 
calamity in which he has wantonly involved himself. First 
at Maziuderan, then at Hanuiveran, and now he is being 
punished for attempting to discover the secrets of the Heavens ! " 
AYhen they reached the wilderness into which Kaiis had fallen, 
Giidarz repeated to him the same observations, candidly telling 
him that he Avas fitter for a mad-house than a throne, and 
exhorting him to be satisfied with his lot and be obedient to 
God, the creator of all things. The miserable king was softened 
to tears, acknowledged his folly ; and as soon as he was es- 
corted back to his palace, he shut himself up, remaining forty 
days, unseen, prostrating himself in shame and repentance. 
After that he recovered his spirits, and resumed the administra- 
tion of affairs with his former liberality, clemency, and justice, 
almost rivalling the glory of Feridiin and Jemshid. 

One clay Rustem made a splendid feast ; and whilst he and 
his brother warriors, Giw and Giidarz, and Tus, were quaffing 
their wine, it was determined upon to form a pretended hunting 
party, and repair to the sporting grounds of Afrasiyab. The 
feast lasted seven days ; aiK< on the eighth, preparations were 
made for the march, an advance party being pushed on to 
reconnoitre the motions of the enemy. Afrasiyab was soon 
informed of what was going on, and nattered himself with the 
hopes of getting Eustcm and his seven champions into his 
thrall, for which purpose he called together his wise men and 
warriors, and said to them : " You have only to secure these 


invaders, and Kaus will soon cease to be the sovereign of 
Persia." To accomplish this object, a Turanian army of thirty 
thousand veterans was assembled, and ordered to occupy all 
the positions and avenues in the vicinity of the sporting ground'. 
An immense clamour, and thick clouds of dust, which darkened 
the skies, announced their approach ; and when intelligence of 
their numbers was brought to Rustem, the undaunted champion 
smiled, and said to Garaz : " Fortune favours me ; what cause 
is there to fear the king of Tiiran ? his army docs not exceed 
a hundred thousand men. Were I alone, with Rakush, with my 
armour, and battle-axe, I would not shrink from his legions. 
Have I not seven companions in arms, and is not one of theni 
equal to five hundred Turanian heroes 1 Let Afhisiyiib dare to 
cross the boundary-river, and the contest will presently convince 
him that he has only sought his own defeat." Promptly at a 
signal the cup-bearer produced goblets of the red wine of 
Ziibul ; and in one of them Rustem pledged his royal master 
with loyalty, and Tus and Zuiira joined in the convivial and 
social demonstration of attachment to the king. 

The champion arrayed in his buburiyan, mounted Rakush, 
and advanced towards the Turanian army. Afrasiyab, when he 
beheld him in all his terrible strength and vigour, was amazed 
and disheartened, accompanied, as he was, by Tus, and Giidarz, 
and Giirgin, and Giw, and Bahrain, and Berzin, and Ferhad. 
The drums and trumpets of Rustem were now heard, and 
immediately the hostile forces engaged with dagger, sword, and 
javelin. Dreadful was the onset, and the fury with which tha 
conflict was continued. In truth, so sanguinary and destruc- 
tive was the battle, that Afrasiyab exclaimed in grief and terror : 
<; If this carnage lasts till the close of day, not a man of my 
army will remain alive. Have I not one warrior endued with 
sufficient bravery to oppose and subdue this mighty Rustem ? 
What ! not one fit to be rewarded with a diadem, with my own 
throne and kingdom, which I will freely give to the victor ! " 
Pilsum heard tl\3 promise, and was ambitious of earning the 
reward ; but fate decreed it otherwise. His prodigious effort* 


were of no avail. Alkiis was equally unsuccessful, though the 
bravest of the brave among the Turanian warriors. Encoun- 
tering Rustem, his brain was pierced by a javelin wielded by 
the Persian hero, and he fell dead from his saddle. This signal 
achievement astonished and terrified the Turanians, who, how- 
ever, made a further despairing effort against the champion and 
his seven conquering companions, but with no better result 
than before, and nothing remained to them excepting destruc- 
tion or flight. Choosing the latter they wheeled round, and 
endeavoured to escape from the sanguinary fate that awaited 

Seeing this precipitate movement of the enemy, Rustem 
impelled Rakusli forward in pursuit, addressing his favourite 
horse with fondness and enthusiasm : 

" My valued friend put forth thy speed, 
This is a time of pressing need ; 
Bear me away amidst the strife, 
That I may take that despot's life ; 
An'.l with my n:a e and javelin, flood 
This dusty plain with foe-man's blood. " 

Excited by his master's cry, 

The war-horse bounded o'er the plain, 

So swiftly that he seemed to fly, 

Snorting with pride, and tossing high 
His streaming mane. 

And soon he reached that despot's side, 
" Now is the time ! " the Champion cried, 

" This is the hour to victory given." 
And flung his noose which bound the king 
1'ast for a moment in its ring ; 

But soon, alas ! the bond was riven. 

Haply the Tartar-monarch slipt away, 
Not doomed to suffer on that bloody day ; 
And freed from thrall, he hurrying led 

lIi-> legions cross the boundary-stream, 
Leaving his countless heaps of dead 

To rot beneath the solar beam. 

Onward he rushed with heart opprest, 
And broken fortunes ; he had quaffed 

Bright pleasure's cup, but now, unblest, 
i'oison. was mingled with the draught 1 


The booty in horses, treasure, armour, pavilions, and tents, 
was immense ; and when the whole was secured, Rustem and 
his companions fell back to the sporting-grounds already men- 
tioned, from whence he informed Kai-kaus by letter of the 
victory that had been gained. After remaining two weeks 
there, resting from the toils of war and enjoying the pleasures 
of hunting, the party returned home to pay their respects to 
the Persian king. 

And this is life 1 Thus conquest and defeat, 

Vary the lights and shades of human scenes, 

And human thought. Whilst some, immersed in pleasure, 

p]njoy the sweets, others again endure 

The miseries of the world. Hope is deceived 

In this frail dwelling ; certainty and safety 

Are only dreams which mock the credulous mind ; 

Time sweeps o'er all things ; why then should the wise 

Mourn o'er events which roll resistless on, 

And set at nought all mortal opposition 1 


Kow further mark the search! ess wars of Heaven, 
Father and son to mortal combat jclriven ! 
Alas ! the tale of sorrow must be told, 
The tale of tears, derived from minstrel old. 

Firdausi relates that Rustem, being. on a hunting excursion 
in the neighbourhood of Tiiran, killed an onager, or wild ass,* 
which he roasted in the forest ; and having allayed his hunger, 
went to sleep, leaving his horse, Rakush, at liberty to graze. 
In the mean time a band of Tartar wanderers appeared, and 

* Hunting the Gor, or wild-ass, appeal's to have been a favourite fo>ort in 
Persia. Bahrain the Sixth was surnamed Gor, in consequence of his being 
peculiarly devoted to the chase of this animal, ar.d wlucli at last co.:t him his 


seeing so fine an animal astray, succeeded in securing him with 
their kamunds, or nooses, and conveyed him home. "When 
Eastern awoke from sleep he missed his favourite steed, and felt 
convinced from the surrounding traces of his footsteps that he 
had been captured and carried away. Accordingly he proceeded 
towards Samengtin, a small principality on the borders of 
Turin, and his approach being announced to the king, his 
majesty went on foot to receive him with due respect and 
consideration. Eustem, however, was in great wrath, and 
haughtily told the king that his horse had been stolen from 
him in his dominions, and that he had traced his footsteps 
to Samcngiin. The king begged that he would not be angry, 
but become his guest, and he would immediately order a search 
for the missing horse. Rustem was appeased by this concilia- 
tory address, and readily accepted the proffered hospitality. 
Having in the first place dispatched his people in quest of 
Eakush, the king of Samengtin prepared a magnificent feast for 
the entertainment of his illustrious guest, at which wine and 
music and dancing contributed their several charms. Rustem 
was delighted with the welcome he received ; and when the 
hour of repose arrived, he was accommodated with a couch 
suitably provided and decorated. Soon after he hail fallen 
asleep, he was awakened by a beautiful vision, which presented 
itself close to his pillow, accompanied by a slave girl with a 
lamp in her hand. 

A moon-faced beauty rose upon his sight, 

Like the sun sparkling, full of bloom and fragrance ; 

Her eye-brows bended like the archer's bow. 

Her ringlets fateful as the warrior's kamiind ; 

And graceful as the lofty cypress tree, 

She moved towards the champion, who surprised 

At this enchanting vision, asked the cause 

Which brought her thither. Softly thus she spoke : 

" I am the daughter of the king, my name 

Tahmlneh, no one from behind the screen 

Of privacy has yet beheld me, none ; 

Nor even heard the echo of my voice. 

But I have heard of thy prodigious deeds, 

Of thy unequalled valour and renown" 


Rustem was still more astonished when he was apprized 
of the nature of this extraordinary adventure, and anxiously 
asked more particularly the object of her wishra. She replied 
that she had become enamoured of him, on account of the 
fame and the glory of his actions, and in consequence had 
vowed to God that she would espouse no other man. "I em- 
ployed spies to seize upon Rakush and secure him to obtain a 
foal of his breed, and happily Almighty God has conducted 
thee to Samcngan to fulfil my desires. I have been irresistibly 
impelled to make this disclosure, and now I depart ; only, 
to-morrow, do thou solicit the consent of my father to our 
union, and he certainly will not refuse to bless us." Rustem 
acceded to the flattering proposal, and in the morning the 
nuptial engagement was sanctioned by the king. 

Joyous the monarch smiled, and gave his child, 
According to the customs of the kingdom, 
To that brave champion, 

Rustem could not remain long with his bride, and when 
parting from her he said : " If the Almighty should bless thee 
with a daughter, place this amulet * in her hair ; but if a son, 

* It seems by the text that the Mohreh, or amulet, of Rustem was cele- 
brated throughout the world for its wonderful virtues. The Mohrehi Suliman, 
Solomon's Seal, was a talisman of extraordinary power, said to be capable of 
rendering objects invisible, and of creating every kind of magical illusion. 
Josephus relates that he saw a certain Jew, named Eleazar, draw the devil out 
of an old woman's nostril, by the application of Solomon s Seal to her nose, in 
the presence of the Emperor Tespasian ! But Mohreh is more properly an 
amulet, or spell, against misfortune. The wearer of one of them imagines 
himself safe under every situation of danger. 

The application of the magical instrument to the mouth was often indis- 
pensable. Thus Angelica in the Orlando Furioso : 

Del clito se lo leva, e a mano a 111,1110, 

fce'l chiudo in bocca, e in men, die non balena, 

Cosi dagli occhi di Rnggier si ct la, 

Come fa il Sol, quando la iiube il vela. CANTO XI. St. 6. 

Then from her hand she took with eager haste, 

And twixt her lips, the shining circlet placed, 

And instant vanished from Rogero's sight ! 

Like Phcebus when a cloud obscures his light. HOOLK, 


bind it on his arm, and it will inspire him with the disposition 
and valour of Nariman." Having said these words, and 
Rakush being at the same time restored to him, he took leave, 
and went away to his own country. 

How wept that angel-face at parting, grief 
Subdued her heart ; but when nine months had past, 
A boy was born as lovely as the moon, 
The image of his father, and of Sam, 
And Nariman for in one little month 
He had attained the growth of a full year ; 
His spreading chest was like the chest of Zal. 
When nine, there was not in that country round 
One who could equal him in feats of arms. 

Hatim placed the talisman in his mouth when he plunged into the cauldron of 
boiling oil. [See Hatim Ta'i, a Persian Romance, full of magic, and the wild 
and marvellous adventures of Knight-errantry.] Aristotle speaks of the ring 
of Battus which inspired the wearer with GRATITUDE AND HONOR ! Faith in 
rings and amulets prepared at particular seasons, under certain mysterious 
forms and circumstances, is an ancient superstition, but in Persia and India, 
there is hardly a man without his Bazubund, or bracelet, to preserve him from 
the influence of the Demons. "The women of condition, in Persia, have 
small silver plates of a circular form, upon which are engraved sentences from 
the Koran ; these, as well as the Talismans, they bind about their arms with 
pieces of red and green silk, and look upon them as never-failing -.harms 
against the fascinations of the devil, wicked spirits, &c." (Franckliu 3 Tour 
to Persia. ) Rustem had also a magic garment, or cloak, called according to the 
Burhani-katia, Buburiyan. Some say that he received it from his father Zal, 
and others, that it was made of the skin of Akwan Diw ; others again say, 
that it was made of the skin of a leopard, or some similar animal, which 
Rustem killed on the mountain Sham. It had the property of resisting the 
impression of every weapon, it was proof against fire, and would not sink in 
water. Something like the charm in the curse of Keharaa. 

I charm thy life, 
From the weapons of strife, 
From stone and from wood, 
From fire and from flood, 
From the serpent's tooth, 
And the beasts of blood, 

Buhur is an animal of the tiger kind, said to be superior in strength to the 
lion. The famous heroes of antiquity usually wore the skins of wild beasts. 
Hercules wore the skin of the Kemaean lion. The skins of panthers and 
leopards were worn by the Greek and Trojan chiefs. Virgil says of Actstes, 

occurrit Acestes, 
Horridus in jaculis, et pelle Libystidos JEx. B. 5, v. 30. 


The king of Samcngan named him Sohrab ; and when the 
youth was ten years old, he said to his mother : " People ask 
me who my father is, and want to know his name ! " To this, 
Tahmineh replied : " Thy father's name is Rustem, 

" Since the God of creation created the earth, 
To a hero like Eastern he never gave birth." 

And she then described the valour and renown of his ancestors, 
which excited in the breast of Sohrab the desire of beino 1 


immediately introduced to his father ; but his mother endea- 
voured to repress his eagerness, and told him to beware 

" For if he knows thou'rt his, he will remove thoe 
From me, and thy sweet home ; from thee divided, 
Thy mother's heart will break in agony ! " 

Rustem had sent a present of jewels and precious stones to 
Tahmineh, with inquiries respecting her offspring, and the reply 
she returned was, that a daughter was the fruit of their union. 
This intelligence disappointed him, and he afterwards thought 
no more of Samengan. Tahmineh again said to Sohrdb : 
" Beware also of speaking too publicly of thy relationship to 
Rustem, for fear of Afnisiyab depriving me of thee." "Never," 
said he, " will I conceal the name of my father ; nay, I will go 
to him myself : 

Even now, I will oppose the Tartar host, 

Whate'er their numbers Kaus shall be hurled 

From his imperial throne, and Tus subdued 

To Rustem I will give the crown and sceptre, 

And place him on the seat, whence Kaus ruled 

His myriad subjects I will seize the throne 

Of stern Afrasiyab ; my javelin's point 

Shall pierce the Heaven of Heavens. And since 'tis so 

Between my glorious father and myself, 

No crowned tyrant shall remain unpunished." 

Tahmineh wept bitterly, but her entreaties were of no avail 
the youth being unalterably fixed in his determination. One 
day he told her that he wanted a suitable war-horse, and imme- 
diately the royal stables were explored ; but the only animal of 


sufficient size and vigour that could be found there, was the 
foal produced from Rakush, which was at length brought to 

His nerve and action pleased the boy, 
He stroked and patted him with joy ; 
And on his back the saddle placed, 
The month and head the bridle graced, 
And springing on th' impatient stood. 
He proved his fitness and his speed. 

Satisfied with the horse he had obtained, and the arms and 
armour with which he was supplied, he announced his resolution 
of going to war against Kalis, and conquering the kingdom of 
Persia for Rustera ! The news of Sohriib's preparations soon 
readied Afnlsiyab, who hailed the circumstance as peculiarly 
favourable to his own ambitious ends ; and taking advantage of 
the youth's enthusiasm, sent an army to his assistance, declar- 
ing that Kaiis was also his enemy, and that he was anxious to 
share with him in the glory of overcoming the imperial despot. 
Sohrab readily accepted the offer, and the Tartar legions, his 
auxiliaries, were commanded by two noted warriors, Human 
and Barman, to whom Afrasiyab gave the following instruc- 
tions : " It must be so contrived that Rustem and Sohrab 
shall not know each other's person or name. They must be 
brought together in battle. Sohrab is the youngest, and will 
no doubt overcome Rustern, in which case the conqueror may 
be easily dispatched by stratagem, and when both are destroyed, 
the empire of Persia will be all my own ! " Furnished with 
these instructions, the Tartar leaders united with Sohrab, and 
commenced their march towards Persia. There was a fortress 
on the road, in which Hujir, a famous warrior, was stationed ; 
and when Sohrab arrived at that fortress, he rushed out alone 
to oppose the progress of the invader, crying hastily 

" And who art thou ? I am myself Hujir 

The champion, coine to conquer thce,* 

And to lop otf that towering head of thine." 

* This haughty maunor vas common among th>3 heroes of antiquity. "And 


Sohrdb Smiled at this fierce menace, and a sharp conflict 
ensued between the two combatants, in which the vain boaster 
was precipitately thrown from his horse, and afterwards made a 
prisoner by the stripling-warrior. Gurd-afrid, the daughter of 
Gustahem, perceiving this unhappy result, left the fort precipi- 
tately for the purpose of encountering the youth, and bein;^ 
revenged upon him. 

When tidings reached her of the fate Hujfr 

Had thus provoked, she dressed herself in mail, 

And, hastily, beneath her helmet hid 

Her glossy ringlets ; down she, from the fort, 

Came bravely like a lion, nobly mounted ; 

And as she approached the hostile army, called 

With nn undaunted voice. Sohrab beheld 

The gallant foe \\i.h smiles, believing her 

A boy of tender years, and, wondering, saw 

The vigour of the arm opposed to him ; 

The force with which the pointed spear was thrown. 

Assailed so bravely, he drew forth, his nooso, 

And, casting it around the enemy, brought 

Her headlong to the ground. Off flew her helm, 

\Vhen her luxuriant tresses scattered loose, 

And cheeks of radiant bloom, her sex betmyed ! 

When the astonishment produced by this unexpected dis- 
covery had' subsided, Sohrdb regarded her with tender emotion, 
and securely made her his captive ; but Gurd-afrid promptly 
addressed him, and said : " Allow me to return to the fort ; 
all the treasure and property it contains are at my command, 
and shall be given to thee as my ransom. My father is old, 
and his fondest hopes are centered in me. Be therefore con- 
siderate and merciful." Sohrab was too young and ardent not 

the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flcsli unto the 
fowls of the air, and to the leasts of the field." I. Samuel, xvii. 44. This is 
like the boast of Hujir. These denunciations are frequent in Homer as well as 
Firdausi. Thus Diomed to Glaucus : 

If the fruits of earlh, 
Sustain thy life and human be thy birth ; 
} old as thou art, too prodigal of breath, 
Approach and enter the dark gates of death 1 

POPE : ILIAD, vl. 42. 


to be carried away by bis feelings ; he was affected by her 
beauty and her tears, and set her at liberty ! As soon as the 
damsel had re-entered the fortress, a council was held to deli- 
berate on the exigencies of the time, and the garrison resolved 
upon evacuating the place by secret passages during the ensuing 
night. "When morning dawned, Sohrab approached the gate, 
und not a person was anywhere to be found. Grieved and 
disappointed, sorrow preyed deeply upon his heart, losing, as 
he had done, so foolishly, the lovely heroine of whom he had 
become enamoured. 

The father, and daughter, and the garrison, shaped their 
course immediately to the court of Ktlus, to whom they related 
that a wonderful hero had come from Tunin, against whose 
courage it was in vain to contend, and said to be not more 
than fourteen years of age ! What then would he be, they 
thought, when arrived at maturity ! The capture of Hujir, 
and the accounts of Sohrab's amazing prowess, filled Kaiis with 
alarm, and the warrior Giw was forthwith deputed to Zabulistan 
to call Rustem to his aid. The letter ran thus : " A youthful 
warrior, named Sohrab, has invaded Persia from Turan, and 
thou art alone able to avert his destructive progress ; 

" Thou art the sole support of Persia ; thou 
Endued with nerve of more than human power ; 
Thou art the conqueror of Mazinderdn ; 
And at Hamaveran thou didst restore 
The king to liberty and life ; thy sword 
Makes the sun weep ; thy glorious actions fling 
Unequalled splendour o'er the kingly throne." 

When the letter was received, Rustem inquired anxiously 
about the particular form and character of Sohrab, whom Giw 
described as being like Sam and Nariman. This made him 
ponder, and he thought it might be his own son ; but he re- 
collected Tahmineh had written from Samcngiin, that her child 
was a daughter ! He, however, still pondered, although Giw 
repeated the commands of the king that no time should be lost. 
Regardless of the summons, Rustem called for wine and music, 



and made a feast, which continued seven days. On the eighth 
he said, " This too must be a day of festivity ; " and it was not 
till the ninth that he ordered Rakush to be saddled for the 
journey. He then departed with his brother Ziidra and the 
Ziibul troops, and at length arrived at the royal court. Kiiiis 
was in great indignation at the delay that had occurred, and 
directed both Rustem and Giw to be impaled alive for the 
offence they had committed in not attending to his instruc- 
tions. Tiis was commanded to execute this order ; but when 
he stretched out his hand towards Rustem, the champion 
dashed it aside ; and retiring from the assembly, and vaulting 
upon his horse, thus addressed the king : 

" Weak and insensate ! take not to thy breast 
Devouring fire ; thy latest actions still 
Outdo the past in baseness. Go, thyself, 
And, if thou canst, impale Sohrab alive 1 
When wrath inflames my heart, what is Kaus ! 
What, but a clod of earth ? Him must I dread ? 
No, to the Almighty power alone I bend. 
The warriors of the empire sought to place 
The crown upon my head ; but I was faithful, 
And held the kingdom's laws and customs sacred. 
Had I looked to the throne, thou would'st not now 
Have had the power with which thou art surrounded, 
To injure one who is thy safest friend. 
But I deserve it all ; for I have ever, 
Ungrateful monarch 1 done thee signal service." 

Saying this, Rustem withdrew ; and as he went away, the 
hearts of all the courtiers and warriors sunk with the most 
painful anticipations of unavoidable ruin to the empire. 
Gtidarz afforded the only spark of hope, for he was in great 
favour with the king ; and it fortunately so happened, that 
by his interposition, the blind anger of K;ius was soon ap- 
peased. His next office was to follow Rustem, and to restore 
the harmony which had been destroyed. He said to him : 

" Thou know'st that Kaiis is a brainless king, 
Wayward, capricious, and to anger prone ; 
But quickly he repents, and now he seeks 
For reconciliation. If thou'rt deaf 


To this good change in him, and nourishest 
The scorn he has inspired, assuredly 
The people of our nation will be butchered ; 
For who can now resist the Tartar brand ? 
Persia again will groan beneath the yoke 
Of the Turanian despot. Must it be ? 
Have pity on thy countrymen, and never 
Let it be bruited through the scornful woii 1, 
That Rustem feared to right a beardless boy ! " 

The speech of Giidarz had its due effect ; and the champion, 
with altered feelings, returned to the court of the king ; who, 
rising from his throne, received him with the highest honour 
and respect, and apologized for the displeasure into which he 
had been betrayed. 

" Wrathful and wayward in my disposition, 
I felt impatient at the long delay ; 
But now I see my error, arid repentance 
Must, for that insult unprovoked, atone." 

Rustem, in reply, assured the king of his allegiance, and of 
his readiness to undertake whatever might be desired of him ; 
but Ktius said : 

'' To-day let us feast ; let us banquet to day, 
And to-moiTow to battle we'll hasten away." 

Having feasted all night, in the morning Kaus placed all his 
warriors, and his army, under the command of Rustera ; who 
immediately set off to oppose the progress of Sohnib. 

The countless thousands seemed to hide the earth ; 
The Heavens, too, were invisible ; so great 
And overspreading was the Persian host. 
Thus they rolled on, until they reached the fort, 
The barrier-fort, where still Sohrdb remained. 

When the stripling from the top of the fort first observed 
the approach of the Persians, he said to Human " Look, on 
every side at the coming legions ; " at which the Tartar chief 
turned pale. But the youth added " Fear not, by the favour 

K 2 


of Heaven I will soon disperse them ; " and then called for a 
goblet of wine, full of confidence in his own might, and in the 
result of the expected battle. Descending from the walls, he 
proceeded to his pavilion, pitched on the plain in front of the 
fort, and sat in. pomp among the chiefs of the Turanian 

Rustem repaired thither in secret, and in disguise,* to watch 
the motions of his formidable enemy, and beheld him sitting 
drinking wine, surrounded by great men and heroes. Zindeh, 
a warrior, retiring from the banquet, saw the shadow of some 
one, and going nearer to the spot, found it to be a man in 
ambush. He said, " "Who art thou ? " when Rusteni struck 
him a blow on the neck, which stretched him lifeless on the 
ground, and effected his escape. In a few minutes another 
person came, who seeing the body, brought a light, and dis- 
covered it to be Zindeh. "\Vheu the fatal circumstance was 
communicated to Sohrdb, the youth well knew that it must 
have been the work of the enemy, who had secretly entered 
his pavilion, and he solemnly vowed that next day he would be 
revenged on the Iranians, and especially on Kaus, wherever he 
might be found. 

In the mean time Rustem described to Kalis the appearance 
and splendour of Sohnlb : 

" In stature perfect, as the cypress tree. 
No Tartar ever boasted such a presence ; 
Turan, nor even Persia, now can shew 
A hero of his bold and gallant bearing : 
Seeing his form thou would'st at once declare 
That he is Sam, the warrior ; so majestic 
In mien and action 1 " 

When morning dawned, Sohrab took Hujir to the top of 

* It appears that in Rustem's time there was nothing dishonourable in the 
character of a spy. The adventure of Diomed and Ulysses in the tenth book of 
the Iliad shows a similar conclusion with respect to the Greeks. Alfred 
entered the hostile camp of the Danes, under "the disguise of a harper, and 
so entertained them with his music and facetious humours, that he met with 
a -welcome reception." 


the fortress, and speaking kindly to him, promised to release 
him if he would answer truly what he had to ask. Com- 
mencing his anxious inquiries, he then said : " To whom 
belongs that pavilion surrounded by elephants ? " Hujir re- 
plied "It belongs to king Kcius." Sohrtib resumed "To 
whom belongs the tent on the right ? " " To the warrior 
Tiis." " To whom, then, belongs that crimson pavilion ? " 
" To Gudarz." " Whose is that green pavilion, with the 
Gaviini banner flying over it, and in which a throne is seen ?" 
Hujir knew that this was Rustem's tent ; but he reflected 
that if he told the truth, Sohrab might in his wrath attack 
the champion unprepared, and slay him ; better it would be, 
he thought, to deny his being present, and accordingly he 
said : " That tent belongs to the chief of the troops sent 
by the Emperor of Chin in aid of king Kaiis." "Dost 
thou know his name ? " " Xo, I do not." Sohrab meditated, 
and said in his heart : " I see here the plain indications of 
Rustem's presence, which my mother gave me why am I 
deceived ? " He again questioned Hujir, and received the 
same answer. " Then where is Rustem's tent ? " he asked, 
impatiently. "It appears that he has not yet arrived from 

At this the stripling's heart was sunk in grief ; 
The tokens which his mother gave, were all 
Conspicuous ; yet his father was denied ; 
So Fate decreed it. Still he lingering hoped 
By further question, and encouragement, 
To win the important secret from Hujir. 

Again he said, with persuasive gentleness, " Look well 
around ; try if thou can'st find the tent of Rustem, and thou 
shalt be richly rewarded for thy trouble." " Rustem's tent 
may be in some degree similar to that ; but it is not Rustem's." 
Ilujir then went on in praise of the champion, and said : 

" When roused to fury in the battle-field, 
What is a man, an elephant, or pard ; 
The strength of five-score valiant men exceeds not 
Eastern's unwearied nerve and towering frame." 


Then Sohrtib said to him : " "Why dost thou praise Rustem 
in this manner to me ? Where hast thou seen the strife of 
heroes ? " Hujir became alarmed, and thought within him- 
self, if I point out Eustem's tent, no doubt he will be killed 
by this ambitious youth, and then there will be no one to 
defend the Persian throne. Sohrtib continued with emotion : 
"Point out to me the tent of Rustem, this moment, or 
thou shalt die ! " Hujir again paused, and said within him- 
self: ''More honourable will it be to save the lives of 
Rustern and Kalis than my own. "What is my life compared 
to theirs ? Nothing !" He then said aloud: " "Why thus 
seek for a pretext to shed my blood why these pretences, 
since my life is in thy power ! " Sohrab turned from him 
in despair, and descending from the rampart on which he 
stood, arrayed himself in armour, and prepared for battle. 
His first object was to attack the centre where Kaiis was 
posted ; thither he proceeded, and called out aloud : " I 
have sworn to be revenged on Kaus for the murder of Zin- 
deh ; if he has any honour let him meet me in single com- 
bat." Sohrab stood alone on the plain, firm as the mountain 
Alberz, and such terror had seized upon the hearts of the 
warriors, that not a man had courage enough to advance a 
step against him. After a short space, Sohrab called out 
again: "The king cannot be excused. It is not the custom 
of kings to be without honour, or to skulk away like foxes 
from the power of lions in battle. 0, Kiiiis, wherefore dost 
thou hesitate to enter the field ? 

" Why have they named thee. Kai-Kaus, the king, 
If thou'rt unfit to combat with the brave ? ' ' 

Kaiis was appalled by the insulting boldness of the youth, 
and called to his friends to inform Rustem of the dilemma 
into which he was thrown, and the panic of his warriors, who 
seemed deprived of their senses. But Rustem had resolved 
not to fight on that day. "Let another chief," said he, 


"oppose the Tartar, and when he is overthrown it will be 
my turn." Kaiis then sent Tiis to urge him to comply, and 
the champion being made acquainted with the distress and 
terror of the king, hurried on his armour, and left his tent. 
On the way, he said to himself : " This enemy must be of 
the demon-breed, otherwise why should such an impression have 
been made on the warriors, that they are afraid to oppose him." 
Then throwing aside all apprehension on his own account, and 
placing his trust in God, he appeared before Sohnib, who in- 
vited him to go to a little distance, and fight apart from the 
beholders. The invitation being accepted, Sohrdb said : " No 
mortal has power to resist this arm thou. must perish ! " 
" "Why this boasting ? Thou art but a child, and where hast 
thou seen the conflicts of the valiant ? I am myself an old 
experienced warrior ; I slew the "White Demon and all his 
Demon-host, and neither lion, nor dragon, nor tiger, can escape 
from me. 

" Compassion rises in my heart, 

I cannot slay thee let us part ! 

Thy youth, thy gallantry, demand 

A different fate than murderous brand." 

" Perhaps," replied Sohrab, " thou art Rnstem ! " " No, I 
am only the servant of Rustem." At this declaration, 

Aspiring hope was turned to sad dismay, 

And darkness quenched the joyous beam of day. 

At first the two combatants fought with spears, which were 
soon shivered to pieces ; then with swords, which became 
hacked like saws, and then with clubs. So fiercely they con- 
tended that their mail was torn in pieces, their weapons bent, 
and their horses almost exhausted. Blood and sweat poured 
down on the ground as they strugged, and their throats were 
parched with thirst. Both stood still for a while to breathe. 
Rustem said to himself : " I never saw man or Demon with 
such activity and strength ; " and Sohrab thus addressed the 


champion gaily, " When thou art ready, come and try the 
effects of bow and arrow ! " They then engaged with bows 
and arrows, but without any decisive result. Afterwards they 
used their hands and arms in wrestling, and Rustem applied as 
much force as might have shaken a mountain, to raise Sohrab 
from the ground, but he could not move him. Sohrab then 
endeavoured to lift up his antagonist, but in vain. Both were 
satisfied, and forsook each other's hold. Sohrab however had 
recourse to his mace, and struck a heavy blow on the head of 
Eastern, who reeled with the pain it inflicted. The laughing 
stripling, in consequence, spoke tauntingly to him, and Rustem 
said, " Night is coming on, we will resume the battle to-ruorrow." 
Sohrab replied, " Go, I have given thee enough, I will now let 
KMs feel the sharpness of my sword ! " and, at the same 
moment that he proceeded against the Persian king, Rustem 
galloped forward to be revenged on the Turanians. But in the 
midst of his career, the unprotected situation of Kdus struck 
his mind, and returning to his own army, found that Sohrab 
had slain a number of his warriors, and was still com- 
mitting great havoc. He called to him, and said, " Let 
there be a trace to-night ; but if thou art still for war, 
oppose thyself to me alone ! " Sohrab was himself weary, 
and closed with the first proposal. Both accordingly retired 
to their tents. 

In the night Kaiis sent for Rustem, and observed, that during 
the whole period of his life he had never witnessed or heard of 
such overwhelming valour as had been exhibited by the young 
invader ; to which Rustem replied, " I know not, but he seems 
to be formed of iron. I have fought him with sword, and 
arrow, and mace, and he is still unhurt. In the warrior's art 
he is my superior, and Heaven knows what may be the result 
to-morrow." Having retired to his own place of rest, Rustem 
passed the night in petitions to the Almighty, and to his 
brother Ziiara he said, " Alas ! I have felt that the power 
of this youth's arm is prodigious. Should any thing untoward 
happen in the ensuing fight, go immediately to Zal, and think 


not of opposition to this triumphant Tartar, for certainly the 
whole of Persia will fall under his control." 

Meanwhile Sohnlb, having returned to his tent, said to 
Humjin, " This old man has the strength and the port of 
Rustem ; God forbid that, if the signs which my mother gave 
be true, he should prove my father!" Human said, in answer: 
"I have often seen Rustem, and I know him ; but this is not 
the champion of Persia and though his horse is like Rakush, 
it is not the same." From this declaration of Human, Sohrab 
felt assured that this was not Rustem. 

As soon as the morning dawned both the combatants were 
opposed to each other ; and when the eye of Sohrab fell upon 
Rustem, an instinctive feeling of affection rose in his heart, 
and he wished to close the contest in peace. 

" Let us together sit and shun the strife, 
Which sternly seeks each other's valued life ; 
Let others mix in fight, whilst we agree, 
And yield our hearts to peace and amity. 
Affection fills my breast with hopes and fears, 
For thee my cheeks are overflowed with tears ; 
How have I ceaseless sought to know thy name, 
Oh, tell it now, thou man of mighty fame." 

To this address, Rustem replied, that the words of the pre- 
ceding evening were of a different import, and the agreement 
was to wrestle to-day. " I am not," said he, " a person of 
trick or artifice, nor a child, as thou art, but I am prepared 
to wrestle with thee." Sohrab finding every effort fruitless, 
all his hopes disappointed, and his views frustrated at every 
step, dismounted and prepared for the contest. Rustem was 
already on foot, tightening his girdle previous to the struggle. 

Like lions they together tugged, and strained 
Their nervous limbs ; and from their bodies flowed 
Streams of red blood and sweat. Sohrab with force 
Equal to a mad elephant's, raised up 
The champion, and upon the sandy plain 
Dashed him down backward. Then upon his breast, 
Fierce as a tiger on a prostrate elk, 
lie sat, all ready to lop off the head. 


But Eastern called out in time, and said, "According to 
the custom of my country, the first time a combatant in 
wrestling is thrown, his head is not severed from his body, 
but only after the second fall." As soon as Sohrdb heard 
these words, he returned his dagger into the sheath, and 
allowed his antagonist to rise. 

"When the youth returned to his tent, and told Human 
what he had done, the Turanian chief lamented deeply the 
thoughtlessness of his conduct. " To ensnare the lion," said 
he, "and then set him at liberty to devour thee, was cer- 
tainly a foolish thing ! " But Sohrab said, " He is still in 
my power, being inferior to me in skill and strength, and I 
shall to-morrow be able to command the same advantage.' 
To this, Human replied, " The wise never look upon an enemy 
as weak and contemptible ! " 

"When Eustem had escaped from the battle with Sohrab, 
he purified himself with water, and prostrated himself all 
night in devotion to the Almighty, praying that his former 
strength and power might be vouchsafed to him. It is said 
that in the first instance God gave him so much strength, 
that in placing his foot upon a rock it sunk to its centre. 
But as he was thus unable to walk, he prayed for a suitable 
diminution of power, and the prayer was accepted. "With 
this diminished power, though still prodigious, he was now 
again favoured, and on the following day the fight was re- 
newed. " What ! here again ? " said Sohnib, triumphantly. 

Again their backs they wrestling bend,* 
Again their limbs they seem to rend ; 
They seize each other's girdle-band, 
And strain and grasp with foot and hand, 
Doubt hanging still on either side, 
From morn to sombre even-tide. 

* Wrestling is a favourite sport in the east. From Homer down to Statins, 
the Greek and Roman poets have introduced wrestling in their Epic poems. 
Wrestlers, like the gladiators at Rome, are exhibited in India on a variety of 
occasions. Prize wrestlers were common in almost every European nation. 


At length Eastern made a powerful effort, and got Sohrab 
under him. Apprehensive however that he had not strength 
enough to keep him there, he plunged his dagger in the side 
of the unhappy youth, and fatally prevented all further re- 
sistance. Groaning heavily, the dying Sohrab said : " Alas ! 
I came here in anxious search of my father, and it has cost 
me my life. But if thou wert a fish, and sought refuge at 
the bottom of the ocean, or a star in the heavens, my father 
will be revenged on thee for this deed." ""What is thy 
father's name ? " said the champion. " His name is Kustem, 
and my mother is the daughter of the king of Samengan." 
On hearing these words, the world faded before Rustem's 
eyes, and he fell senseless on the ground. After some time 
he rose up in deep agitation, and asked Sohrab what tokens he 
possessed to prove the truth of his assertion, " for I am 
Rustem ! " he said in agony. " Alas ! " rejoined Sohrab, 
" the instinctive feeling was ever at my heart, but, wonderful 
to say, it received no mutual assurance from thine ! If a 
token is required, ungird my mail, and there behold the 
amulet which my mother bound on my arm, and which 
Rustem gave to her, saying that it would be of extraordinary 
use on a future day." The sight of the amulet was an over- 
whelming blow to the father he exclaimed in bitterness of 
soul : " cruelly art thou slain my son ! my son ! What 
father ever thus destroyed his own offspring ! I shall never 
be released from the horror of this dreadful crime, and there- 
fore better will it be that I put an end to my own existence ! " 
But Sohrub dissuaded him from this resolution. "It has been 

The old poet Drayton in his Poly-Olbion alludes to this manly exercise in 

This isle in wrestling doth excel ; 

With collars be they yoked, to prove the arm at length, 
Like bulls set head to head, with ineer deliver strength : 
Or by the girdles grasp'd, they practice with the hip, 
The forward, backward, falx, the mar, the turn, the trip : 
When stript into their shirts each other they invade, 
Within a spacious ring, for the beholders made, 
According to the law. 


my destiny thus to perish, ifc can be of no avail to kill thyself. 
Let me depart, alone and thou remain for ever." Rustem, in 
utter despair, flung himself on the ground, and covered his 
head with dust and ashes ; whilst Sohrab continued writhing 
and fluttering like a bird, from the anguish of his wound. 

When the people of Kaiis perceived Eakush riderless, they 
reported to him that Rustem was dead, and a loud wail of 
sorrow arose from the whole army. The messenger who wr.s 
sent to ascertain the particulars of the misfortune, found Rus- 
tem rolling in the dust in the deepest affliction, and Sohrab at 
the point of death ; and raising up the head of the champion, 
asked him what had happened. " I have done that," said he, 
" which has made me weary of life. I have, in my old age, 
slain my son ! " Ziiura, his brother, hearing this, turned in 
sorrow to Sohrab, who said to him : " Such is my destiny, such 
the will of fortune. It was decreed that I should perish by the 
hand of my father. I came like a flash of lightning, and now 
I depart like the empty wind." Both Rustem and Zuara were 
inconsolable, but Sohrab again tried to soothe them, and said, 
" No person remains for ever in the world ; then why this 
grief ? " He then addressed Rustem, " let not those who 
have followed my fortunes be put to trouble, or punished on my 
account, they are not to blame." And Rustem set his mind 
entirely at rest about them. 

Giidarz was no\v sent by the champion to Kiius to ask him 
for a cordial balm which he possessed of wonderful virtue, in 
the hope that it might restore Sohrab to life. But when the 
king heard the request, he said: "Doubtless the cordial will 
make him better, but I cannot forget the scandal and disgrace 
which this youth heaped upon me even in presence of my own 
army. Besides which, he threatened to deprive me of my 
crown, and give it to Rustem. I will not serve him." 

When Giidarz heard this cruel speech, 
Which flinty heart alone could, 
He hastened back and told the tale ; 
But though it was his fate to fail, 


Rustem himself, the king might calm, 
And gain the life-reviving balm ! 
Then Rustem to his sovereign went, 
But scarcely had he reached the tent, 
Ere news arrived that all was past, 
The warrior-youth had breathed his last ! 

Rustem returned with the utmost speed, and continued 
mourning intensely. " Son of the valiant ! thou art gone, the 
descendant of heroes has departed. Eight would it be were I 
to cut off both my hands, and sit for evermore in dust and 
darkness." The body of Sohrsib was then placed on a bier, 
and there was nothing but lamentation. 

Alas ! for that valour, that wisdom of thine, 
Alas ! that sweet life thou wert doomed to resign ; 
Alas 1 for the anguish thy mother must feel, 
And thy father's affliction, which time will not heal. 

The champion now proceeded to his tent, and consigned all 
his property, warlike appurtenances, and armour, to the flames. 

Why should affection cling to this vain world, 
Still fleeting, never for a moment fixed? 
Who that has reason or reflection ever 
Can be deceived by life's delusive joys 1 

Kaus himself now repaired to Rustem, and offered him the 
consolation he required : 

" No one is free from sorrow, all 
Who sojourn on this earthly ball, 
Must weep o'er friends and kindred gone, 
And some are left to mourn, alone. 
'Twas ever thus since time began, 
For sorrow is the lot of man." 

Upon this Rustem observed : " Thus it is, the arrow has 
reached the mark. My son is dead ! and after this, I shall 
never more gird my loins against the Turanians. Let me 
request that Human may be allowed to return with his army 
unmolested to his own country, and that peace he made with 


Afrasiyab." The king acceded to this solicitation, saving, 
" My heart bleeds for thee, and on thy account I will overlook 
the injuries and insults which I have received from my implac- 
able enemy. Let them go." Zuara was appointed to see Hiimau 
and the Tartar troops across the Jihun, and at the same time 
Kalis with his army returned to Iran. 

Meanwhile Rustem accompanied the bier of Sohrab to Sistan, 
and was met by Zal, with his household and troops in mourning 
raiment, throwing ashes over their heads. He said to his father, 
"Alas! in this narrow coffin lies the very image of Sam 
Siiwar ! " and when the bier was conveyed into the house, loud 
and continued lamentations burst forth from the mother of 
Rustem and the women of her family. At length the body of 
Sohrab was honourably interred, and a lasting monument 
erected to his memory. 

When the melancholy tidings of the stripling's fate arrived 
at Samengan, and were communicated to Tahmineh, she lighted 
a fire and threw herself into it ; and when rescued from the 
flames by her people, she burnt her flowing hair, and disfigured 
her body in the agony of desperation. 

With her clenched hand she tore her raven locks, 

Locks of ensnaring beauty, as these words, 

Uttered with frenzied look, and trembling accent, 

Fell from ht-i lips : " My child, my darling child ! 

Where art tl/ou now, mixed with the worthless earth, 

In a remote, inhospitable land ? 

Seeking thy father, what hast thou obtained ? 

Death from a parent's hand ! how I loved thee. 

And watched thee night and day ; whom can I new 

Clasp in these longing arms, to whom relate 

The agony I suffer ! my child ! 

Where were the tokens which I gave to thee, 

Why didst thou not present them to his view ? 

But wherefore did I madly stay behind, 

And not point out to thee thy mighty father 1 " 

Thus wildly she exclaimed, and all around 

Seeing her frantic grief, shed floods of tears. 

The stripling's horse was brought, and to her bosom 

She pressed the hoofs, and kissed the head and face, 

Bathing them with her tears. His mail, and helm, 

Bow, spear, and mace, his bridle, shield, and saddle, 


Were all before her, and with these she beat 
Her bursting head, as if she could not feel 
Aught but the wounds of her maternal spirit. 
Thus she unceasing raved and wept by turns, 
Till one long year had passed then, welcome death 
Keleased her from the heavy load of life, 
The pressure of unmitigated woe. 


Early one morning as the cock crew, Tiis arose, aiid accom- 
panied by Giw and Giidarz and a company of horsemen, pro- 
ceeded on a hunting excursion, not far from the banks of the 
Jihun, where, after ranging about the forest for some time, 
they happened to fall in with a damsel of extreme beauty, with 
smiling lips, blooming cheeks, and fascinating mien. They said 
to her : 

" Never was seen so sweet a flower, 

In garden, vale, or fairy bower ; 

The moon is on thy lovely face, 

Thy cypress-form is full of grace ; 

But why, with charms so soft and meek, 

Dost thou the lonely forest seek ? " 

She replied that her father was a violent man, and that she 
had left her home to escape his anger. She had crossed the 
river Jihun, and had travelled several leagues on foot, in con- 
sequence of her horse being too much fatigued to bear her 
farther. She had at that time been three days in the forest. 
On being questioned respecting her parentage, she said her 
father's name was Shlwer, of the race of Feridun. Many 
sovereigns had been suitors for her hand, but she did not 
approve of one of them. At last he wanted to marry her to 
Poshang, the ruler of Tiirau, but she refused him on account 


of his ugliness and bad temper ! This she said was the cause 
of her father's violence, and of her flight from home. 

" But when his angry mood is o'er, 
He'll love his daughter as before ; 
And send his horsemen far and near, 
To take me to my mother dear ; 
Therefore, I would not further stray, 
But here, without a murmur, stay." 

The hearts of both Tiis and Giw were equally inflamed with 
love for the damsel, and each was equally determined to support 
his own pretensions, in consequence of which a quarrel arose 
between them. At length it was agreed to refer the matter to 
the king, and to abide by his decision. When, however, the 
king beheld the lovely object of contention, he was not dis- 
posed to give her to either claimant, but without hesitation 
took her to himself, after having first ascertained that she was 
of distinguished family and connection. In due time a son 
was born to him, who was, according to the calculations of the 
astrologers, of wonderful promise, and named Saiawush. The 
prophecies about his surprising virtues, and his future renown, 
made Kaus anxious that justice should be done to his opening 
talents, and he was highly gratified when Rustem agreed to 
take him to Ztibulistdn, and there instruct him in all the ac- 
complishments which were suitable to his illustrious rank. He 
was accordingly taught horsemanship and archery, how to con- 
duct himself at banquets, how to hunt with the falcon and the 
leopard, and made familiar with the manners and duty of 
kings, and the hardy chivalry of the age. His progress in the 
attainment of every species of knowledge and science was sur- 
priting, and in hunting he never stooped to the pursuit of 
animals inferior to the lion or the tiger. It was not long before 
the youth felt anxious to pay a visit to his father, and Rustem 
willingly complying with his wishes, accompanied his accom- 
plished pupil to the royal court, where they were both received 
with becoming distinction, Saiawush having fulfilled Kaus 
expectations in the highest degree, and the king's gratitude to 


the champion being in proportion to the eminent merit of his 
services on the interesting occasion. After this, however, pre- 
ceptors were continued to enlighten his mind seven years 
longer, and then he was emancipated from further application 
and study. 

One day Siidaveh, the daughter of the Shah of Hamdveran, 
happening to see Saitiwush sitting with his father, the beauty 
of his person made an instantaneous impression on her heart. 

The fire of love consumed her breast, 
The thoughts of him denied her rest. 
For him alone she pined in grief, 
From him alone she sought relief, 
And called him to her secret bower, 
To while away the passing hour : 
But Saiavrash refused the call, 
He would not shame his father's hall. 

The enamoured Siidaveh, however, was not to be disap- 
pointed without further effort, and on a subsequent day she 
boldly went to the king, and praising the character and attain- 
ments of his son, proposed that he should be united in marriage 
to one of the damsels of royal lineage under her care. For the 
pretended purpose therefore of making his choice, she requested 
he might be sent to the harem, to see all the ladies and fix on 
one the most suited to his taste. The king approved of the 
proposal, and intimated it to Saiawush ; but Saiawush was 
modest, timid, and bashful, and mentally suspected in this 
overture some artifice of Siidiiveh. He accordingly hesitated, 
but the king overcame his scruples, and the youth at length 
repaired to the shubistan, as the retired apartments of the 
women are called, with fear and trembling. When he entered 
within the precincts of the sacred place, he was surprised by 
the richness and magnificence of every thing that struck hia 
sight. He was delighted with the company of beautiful women, 
and he observed Siidaveh sitting on a splendid throne in an 
interior chamber, like Heaven in beauty and loveliness, with a 
coronet on her head, and her hair floating round her in muskr/ 



ringlets. Seeing him she descended gracefully, and clasping 
him in her arms, kissed his eyes and face with such ardour and 
enthusiasm that he thought proper to retire from her endear- 
ments and mix among the other damsels, who placed him on a 
golden chair and kept him in agreeable conversation for some 
time. After this pleasing interview he returned to the king, 
and gave him a very favourable account of his reception, and 
the heavenly splendour of the retirement, worthy of Jemshid, 
Feridun, or Husheng, which gladdened his father's heart. Kaiis 
repeated to him his wish that he would at once choose one of the 
lights of the harem for his wife, as the astrologers had prophe- 
sied on his marriage the birth of a prince. But Saiawush 
endeavoured to excuse himself from going again to Sudaveli's 
apartments. The king smiled at his weakness, and assured 
him that Sudaveh was alone anxious for his happiness, upon 
which the youth found himself again in her power. She was 
surrounded by the damsels as before, but, whilst his eyes were 
cast down, they shortly disappeared, leaving him and the 
enamoured Sudaveh together. She soon approached him, and 
lovingly said : 

" why the secret keep from one, 
Whose heart is fixed on thee alone ! 
Say who thou art. from whom descended, 
Some Peri with a mortal blended. 
For every maid who sees that face, 
That cypress form replete with grace, 
Becomes a victim to the wiles 
Which nestle in those dimpled smiles ; 
Becomes thy own adoring slave, 
Whom nothing but thy love can save." 

To this Saiawush made no reply. The history of the adven- 
ture of KYius at ILimavenin, and what the king and his warriors 
endured in consequence of the treachery of the father of Stida,- 
veh, flashed upon his mind. He therefore was full of appre- 
hension, and breathed not a word in answer to her fondness. 
Sudaveh observing his silence and reluctance, threw away from 
hcrrclf the veil of modesty, 


And said : " be my own, for I am thine, 

And clasp me in thy arms ! " And then she sprang 

To the astonished boy, and eagerly 

Kissed his deep crimsoned cheek, which filled his soul 

With strange confusion. " When the king is dead, 

take me to thyself ; see how I stand, 
Body and soul devoted unto thee." 

In his heart he said : " This never can be : 
This is a demon's work shall I be treacherous? 
What I to my own dear father ? Never, never ; 

1 will not thus be tempted by the devil ; 
Yet must I not be cold to this wild woman, 
For fear of further folly." 

Saiawush then expressed his readiness to be united in mar- 
riage to her daughter, and to no other ; and when this intelli- 
gence was conveyed to Kaiis by Siidaveh herself, his majesty 
was extremely pleased, and munificently opened his treasury 
on the happy occasion. But Siidaveh still kept in view her 
own design, and still labouring for its success, sedulously read 
her own incantations to prevent disappointment, at any rate to 
punish the uncomplying youth if she failed. On another day 
she sent for him, and exclaimed : 

" I cannot now dissemble ; since I saw thee 
I seem to be as dead my heart all withered. 
Seven years have passed in unrequited love 
Seven long, long years. O ! be not still obdurate, 
But with the generous impulse of affection, 
Oh, bless my anxious spirit, or, refusing, 
Thy life will be in peril ; thou shalt die ! " 
" Never," replied the youth ; " 0, never, never ; 
Oh, ask me not, for this can never be." 

SaUwush then rose to depart precipitately, but Siidaveh 
observing him, endeavoured to cling round him and arrest his 
flight. The endeavour, however, was fruitless ; and finding at 
length her situation desperate, she determined to turn the 
adventure into her own favour, by accusing Saiawush of an 
atrocious outrage on her own person and virtue. She accord- 
ingly tore her dress, screamed aloud, and rushed out of her 
apartment to inform Kaiis of the indignity she had suffered. 
Among her women the most clamorous lamentations arose, and 

L 2 


echoed on every side. The king, on hearing that Saiawush 
had preferred Siidaveh to her daughter, and that he had medi- 
tated so abominable an offence, thought that death alone could 
expiate his crime. He therefore summoned him to his pre- 
sence ; but satisfied that it would be difficult, if not impossible, 
to ascertain the truth of the case from either party concerned, 
he had recourse to a test which he thought would be infallible 
and conclusive. He first smelt the hands of Saiawush, and 
then his garments, which had the scent of rose-water ; and 
then he took the garments of Siidaveh, which, on the contrary, 
had a strong flavour of wine and musk. Upon this discovery, 
the king resolved on the death of Siidaveh, being convinced of 
the falsehood of the accusation she had made against his son. 
But when his indignation subsided, he Avas induced on various 
accounts to forego that resolution. Yet he said to her, " I am 
sure that Saiawush is innocent, but let that remain concealed." 
Siidaveh, however, persisted in asserting his guilt, and continually 
urged him to punish the reputed offender, but without being 
attended to. 

At length he resolved to ascertain the innocence of Saiawush 
by the ordeal of fire ; and the fearless youth prepared to 
undergo the terrible trial to which he was sentenced, telling 
his father to be under no alarm. 

" The truth (and its reward I claim), 
Will bear me safe through fiercest flame." 

A tremendous fire was accordingly lighted on the adjacent 
plain, which blazed to an immense distance. The youth was 
attired in his golden helmet and a white robe, and mounted on 
a black horse. He put up a prayer to the Almighty for protec- 
tion, and then rushed amidst the conflagration, as collectedly as 
if the act had been entirely free from peril. When Siidaveh 
heard the confused exclamations that were uttered at that 
moment, she hurried upon the ten-ace of the palace and wit- 
nessed the appalling sight, and in the fondness of her heart, 
Trished even that she could share his fate, the fate of him of 


whom she was so deeply enamoured. The king himself fell 
from his throne in horror on seeing him surrounded and 
enveloped in the flames, from which there seemed no chance 
of extrication ; but the gallant youth soon rose up, like the 
moon from the bursting element, and went through the ordeal 
unharmed and untouched by the fire. Kiliis, on coming to his 
senses, rejoiced exceedingly on the happy occasion, and his 
severest anger was directed against Siidaveh, whom he now 
determined to put to death, not only for her own guilt, but for 
exposing his son to such imminent danger. The noble youth, 
however, interceded for her. Siidaveh, notwithstanding, still 
continued to practice her charms and incantations in secret, to 
the end that Saiawush might be put out of the way ; and in 
this pursuit she was indeed indefatigable. 

Suddenly intelligence was received that Afrasiyab had 
assembled another army, for the purpose of making an irrup- 
tion into Iran ; and Kaus, seeing that a Tartar could neither 
be bound by promise nor oath, resolved that he would on this 
occasion take the field himself, penetrate as far as Balkh, and 
seizing the country, make an example of the inhabitants. But 
Saiawush perceiving in this prospect of affairs an opportunity 
of becoming free from the machinations and witchery of Sii- 
daveh, earnestly requested to be employed, adding that, with 
the advice and bravery of Rustem, he would be sure of success. 
The king referred the matter to Rustem, who candidly declared 
that there was no necessity whatever for his majesty proceeding 
personally to the war ; and upon this assurance he threw open 
his treasury, and supplied all the resources of the empire to 
equip the troops appointed to accompany them. After one 
month the army marched towards Balkh, the point of attack. 

On the other side Gerslwaz, the ruler of Balghar, joined the 
Tartar legions at Balkh, commanded by Barman, who both 
sallied forth to oppose the Persian host, and after a conflict of 
three days were defeated, and obliged to abandon the fort. 
When the accounts of this calamity reached Afrasiyab, he was 
seized with the utmost terror, which was increased by a dreadful 


dream. He thought he was in a forest abounding with serpeuts, 
and that the air was darkened by the appearance of countless 
eagles. The ground was parched up with heat, and a whirlwind 
hurled down his tent and overthrew his banners. On every 
side flowed a river of blood, and the whole of his army had 
been defeated and butchered in his sight. He was afterwards 
taken prisoner, and ignorniniously conducted to Kalis, in whose 
company he beheld a gallant youth, not more than fourteen 
years of age, who, the moment he saw him, plunged a dagger 
in his loins, and with the scream of agony produced by the 
wound, he awoke. Gersiwaz had in the meantime returned 
with the remnant of his force ; and being informed of these 
particulars, endeavoured to console Afriisiyab, by assuring him 
that the true interpretation of dreams was the reverse of ap- 
pearances. But Afrasiyab was not to be consoled in this 
manner. He referred to his astrologers, who, however, hesi- 
tated, and were unwilling to afford an explanation of the 
mysterious vision. At length one of them, upon the solicited 
promise that the king would not punish him for divulging the 
truth, described the nature of the warning implied in what had 
been witnessed. 

" And now I throw aside the veil. 
Which hides the darkly shadowed tale. 
Led by a prince of prosperous star, 
The Persian legions speed to war, 
And in his horoscope we scan 
The lordly victor of Tiiran. 
If thou shouldst to the conflict rush. 
Opposed to conquering Saiawush, 
Tby Turkish cohorts will be slain, 
And all thy saving efforts vain. 
For if he. in the threatened strife, 
Should haply chance to lose his life ; 
Thy country's fate will be the same, 
Stripped of its throne and diadem." 

Afra'siyab was satisfied with this interpretation, and felfc the 
prudence of avoiding a war so pregnant with evil consequences 
to himself and his kingdom. He therefore deputed Gersiwaz 


to the head-quarters of Saiawush, with splendid presents, con- 
sisting of horses richly caparisoned, armour, swords, and other 
costly articles, and a written despatch, proposing a termination 
to hostilities. 

In the meantime Saitiwush was anxious to pursue the enemy 
across the Jihiin, but was dissuaded by his friends. When 
Gersiwaz arrived on his embassy he was received with distinc- 
tion, and the object of his mission being understood, a secret 
council was held upon what answer should be given. It was 
then deemed proper to demand : first, one hundred distin- 
guished heroes as hostages ; and secondly, the restoration of 
all the provinces which the Turanians had taken from Iran. 
Gersiwaz sent immediately to Afrasiyab to inform him of the 
conditions required, and without the least delay they were 
approved. A hundred warriors were soon on their way ; and 
Bokhara, and Samerkand, and Haj, and the Punjab, were 
faithfully delivered over to Saiawush. Afrasiyab himself re- 
tired towards Gungduz, saying, " I have had a terrible dream, 
and I will surrender whatever may be required from me, rather 
than go to war." 

The negotiations being concluded, Saitiwush sent a letter to 
his father by the hands of Rustem. Rumour, however, had 
already told Kaiis of Afrasiyab's dream, and the terror he had 
been thrown into in consequence. The astrologers in his 
service having prognosticated from it the certain ruin of the 
Turanian king, the object of Rustem's mission was directly 
contrary to the wishes of Kaiis ; but Rustem contended that 
the policy was good, and the terms were good, and he thereby 
incurred his majesty's displeasure. On this account Kaiis ap- 
pointed Tiis the leader of the Persian army, and commanded 
him to march against Afrasiyab, ordering Saiawush at the same 
time to return, and bring with him his hundred hostages. At 
this command Saiawush was grievously offended, and consulted 
with his chieftains, Bahrain, and Zinga, and Shaweran, on the 
fittest course to be pursued, saying, " 1 have pledged my word 
to the fulfilment of the terms, and what will the world say if I 


do not keep my faith ? " The chiefs tried to quiet his mind, 
and recommended him to write again to Kaiis, expressing hia 
readiness to renew the war, and return the hundred hostages. 
But Saidwush was in a different humour, and thought as Tus 
had been actually appointed to the command of the Persian 
army, it would be most advisable for him to abandon his 
country and join Afrasiyab. The chiefs, upon hearing this 
singular resolution, unanimously attempted to dissuade him 
from pursuing so wild a course as throwing himself into the 
power of his enemy ; but he was deaf to their entreaties, and 
in the stubbornness of his spirit, wrote to Afrasiyab, informing 
him that Kaiis had refused to ratify the treaty of peace, that 
he was compelled to return the hostages, and even himself to 
seek protection in Tiiran from the resentment of his father, the 
warrior TILS having been already entrusted with the charge of 
the army. This unexpected intelligence excited considerable 
surprise in the mind of Afrasiyab, but he had no hesitation in 
selecting the course to be followed. The ambassadors, Zinga 
and Shaweran, were soon furnished with a reply, which was to 
this effect : " I settled the terms of peace with thee, not with 
thy father. With him I have nothing to do. If thy choice 
be retirement and tranquillity, thou shalt have a peaceful and 
independent province allotted to thee j but if war be thy object, 
I will furnish thee with a large army : thy father is old and 
infirm, and with the aid of Rustem, Persia will be an easy con- 
quest." Having thus obtained the promised favour and support 
of Afrdsiyab, Saiawush gave in charge to Bahrain the city of 
Balkh, the army and treasure, in order that they might be 
delivered over to Tiis on his arrival ; and taking with him 
three hundred chosen horsemen, passed the Jihun, in progress 
to the court of Afrasiyalb. On taking this decisive step, he 
again wrote to Kaiis, saying : 

" From my youth upward I have suffered wrong 
At first Sudaveh, false and treacherous, 
Sought to destroy my happiness and fame ; 
And thou hadst nearly sacrificed my life 


To glut her vengeance. The astrologers 

Were all unheeded, who pronounced me innocent, 

And I was doomed to brave devouring fire, 

To testify that I was free from guilt ; 

But God was my deliverer ! Victory now 

Has marked my progress. Balkh, and all its spoils, 

Are mine, and so reduced the enemy, 

That I have gained a hundred hostages, 

To guarantee the peace which I have made ; 

And what my recompense ! a father's anger, 

Which takes me from my glory. Thus deprived 

Of thy affection, whither can I fly ? 

Be it to friend or foe, the will of fate 

Must be my only guide condemned by thee." 

The reception of Saiawush. by Afnisiyab was warm and 
flattering. From the gates of the city to the palace, gold and 
incense were scattered over his head in the customary manner, 
and exclamations of welcome uttered on every side. 

" Thy presence gives joy to the land, 
Which awaits thy command ; 

It is thine ! it is thine ! 

All the chiefs of the state have assembled to meet thee, 
All the flowers of the land are in blossom to greet thee ! " 

The youth was placed on a golden throne next to Afrasiyilb, 
and a magnificent banquet prepared in honour of the stranger, 
and music and the songs of beautiful women enlivened the 
festive scene. They chaunted the praises of Saiawush, distin- 
guished, as they said, among men for three things : first, for 
being of the line of Kai-kobad ; secondly, for his faith and 
honour ; and, thirdly, for the wonderful beauty of his person, 
which had gained universal love and admiration. The favour- 
able sentiments which characterized the first introduction of 
Saiawush to Afrdsiyab continued to prevail, and indeed the 
king of Turdn seemed to regard him with increased attachment 
and friendship, as the time passed away, and shewed him all 
the respect and honour to which his royal birth would have 
entitled him in his own country. After the lapse of a year, 
Pinln-wisah, one of Afrasiyab's generals, said to him : " Young 
prince, thou art now high in the favour of the king, and at a 


great distance from Persia, and thy father is old ; would it not 
therefore be better for thee to many and take up thy residence 
among us for life ? " The suggestion was a rational one, and 
Saiawnsh readily expressed his acquiescence ; accordingly, the 
lovely Giilshaher, who was also named Jarira, having been 
introduced to him, he was delighted with her person, and both 
consenting to a union, the marriage ceremony was immediately 

And many a warm delicious kiss, 
Told how he loved the wedded bliss. 

Some time after this union, Piran suggested another alliance, 
for the purpose of strengthening his political interest and 
power, and this was with Ferangis, the daughter of Afrasiyab. 
But Saiiiwush was so devoted to Gulshaher that he first con- 
sulted with her on the subject, although the hospitality and 
affection of the king constituted such strong claims on his 
gratitude that refusal was impossible. Giilshaher, however, was 
a heroine, and willingly sacrificed her own feelings for the 
good of Saiawush, saying she would rather condescend to be 
the very handmaid of Ferangis than that the happiness and 
prosperity of her lord should be compromised. The second 
marriage accordingly took place, and Afrasiyab was so pleased 
with the match that he bestowed on the bride and her husband 
the sovereignty of Khoten, together with countless treasure in 
gold, and a great number of horses, camels, and elephants. 
In a short time they proceeded to the seat of the new govern- 

Meanwhile Kaiis suffered the keenest distress and sorrow 
when he heard of the flight of Saiawush into Turun, and 
Hustem felt such strong indignation at the conduct of the 
king that he abruptly quitted the court, without permission, 
and retired to Sistan. Kalis thus found himself in an embar- 
rassed condition, and deemed it prudent to recall both Tiis and 
the anny from l^alkh, and relinquish further hostile measures 
against Afrasiyab. 


The first thing that Saiawush undertook after his arrival at 
Khoten, was to order the selection of a beautiful site for his 
residence, and Pinin devoted his services to fulfil that object, 
exploring all the provinces, hills, and dales, on every side. At 
last he discovered a beautiful spot, at the distance of about a 
mouth's journey, which combined all the qualities and advan- 
tages required by the anxious prince. It was situated on a 
mountain, and surrounded by scenery of exquisite richness and 
variety. The trees were fresh and green, birds warbled on 
every spray, transparent rivulets murmured through the 
meadows, the air was neither oppressively hot in summer, nor 
cold in winter, so that the temperature, and the attractive 
objects which presented themselves at every glance, seemed to 
realize the imagined charms and fascinations of Paradise. The 
inhabitants enjoyed perpetual health, and every breeze was 
laden with music and perfume. So lovely a place could not 
fail to yield pleasure to Saiawush, who immediately set about 
building a palace there, and garden-temples, in which he had 
pictures painted of the most remarkable persons of his time, 
and also the portraits of ancient kings. The walls were deco- 
rated with the likenesses of Kai-kobad, of Kai-kaiis, Poshang, 
Afrasiyab, and Siim, and Zal, and Eastern, and other champions 
of Persia and Tunin. When completed, it was a gorgeous re- 
treat, and the sight of it sufficient to give youthful vigour to 
the withered faculties of age. And yet Saiawush was not 
happy ! Tears started into his eyes and sorrow weighed upon 
his heart, whenever he thought upon his own estrangement 
from home ! 

It happened that the lovely Gulshaher, who had been left in 
the house of her father, was delivered of a son in due time, and 
he was named Fenid. 

Afrasiyab, on being informed of the proceedings of Sauiwush, 
and of the heart-expanding residence he had chosen, was highly 
gratified ; and to shew his affectionate regard, dispatched to 
him with the intelligence of the birth of a son, presents of 
great value and variety. Gersiwaz, the brother of Afriisiyab, 


and who had from the first looked upon Saidwush with a 
jealous and malignant eye, being afraid of his interfering with 
his own prospects in Tiirdrn, was the person sent on this occa- 
sion. But he hid his secret thoughts under the veil of outward 
praise and approbation. Saiiiwush was pleased with the intelli- 
gence and the presents, but failed to pay the customary respect 
to Gersiwaz on his arrival, and, in consequence, the lurking 
indignation and hatred formerly felt by the latter were con- 
siderably augmented. The attention of Saiawush respecting 
his army and the concerns of the state, was unremitting, and 
noted by the visitor with a jealous and scrutinizing eye, so that 
Gersiwaz, on his return to the court of AMsiydb, artfully 
talked much of the pomp and splendour of the prince, and 
added : " Saiawush is far from being the amiable character 
thou hast supposed ; he is artful and ambitious, and he has 
collected an immense army ; he is in fact dissatisfied. As a 
proof of his haughtiness, he paid me but little attention, and 
doubtless very heavy calamity will soon befall Tunin, should he 
break out, as I apprehend he will, into open rebellion. 

For he is proud, and thou hast yet to learn 
The temper of thy daughter Ferangis, 
Now bound to him in duty and affection ; 
Their purpose is the same, to overthrow 
The kingdom of Tiiran, and thy dominion ; 
To merge the glory of this happy realm 
Into the Persian empire ! " 

But plausible and persuasive as were the observations and 
positive declarations of Gersiwaz, Afrasiytib would not believe 
the imputed ingratitude and hostility of Saiawush. " He has 
sought my protection," said he ; " he has thrown himself upon 
my generosity, and I cannot think him treacherous. But if he 
has meditated any thing unmerited by me, and unworthy of 
himself, it will be better to send him back to Kai-kuus, his 
father." The artful Gersiwaz, however, was not to be diverted 
from his object : lie said that Saiiiwush had become personally 
acquainted with Turan, its position, its weakness, its strength, 


and resources, and aided by Eastern, would soon be able to 
overrun the country if he was suffered to return, and therefore 
he recommended Afrasiyab to bring him from Khoten by some 
artifice, and secure him. In conformity with this suggestion, 
Gersiwaz was again deputed to the young prince, and a letter 
of a friendly nature written for the purpose of blinding him to 
the real intentions of his father-in-law. The letter was no 
sooner read than Saiawush expressed his desire to comply with 
the request contained in it, saying that Afrasiyab had been a 
father to him, and that he would lose no time in fulfilling in 
all respects the wishes he had received. 

This compliance and promptitude, however, was not in har- 
mony with the sinister views of Gersiwaz, for he foresaw that 
the very fact of answering the call immediately would shew 
that some misrepresentation had been practised, and conse- 
quently it was his business now to promote procrastination, 
and an appearance of evasive delay. He therefore said to him 
privately that it would be advisable for him to wait a little, 
and not manifest such implicit obedience to the will of Afra- 
siyab ; but Saiawush replied, that both his duty and affection 
urged him to a ready compliance. Then Gersiwaz pressed him 
more warmly, and represented how inconsistent, how unworthy 
of his illustrious lineage it would be to betray so meek a spirit, 
especially as he had a considerable army at his command, and 
could vindicate his dignity and his rights. And he addressed 
to him these specious arguments so incessantly and with such 
earnestness, that the deluded prince was at last induced to put 
off his departure, on account of his wife Ferangis pretending 
that she was ill, and saying that the moment she was better he 
would return to Tiiran. This was quite enough for treachery 
to work upon ; and as soon as the dispatch was sealed, Gersiwaz 
conveyed it with the utmost expedition to Afrasiyab. Appear- 
ances, at least, were thus made strong against Saiawush, and 
the tyrant of Tiiran, now easily convinced of his falsehood, and 
feeling in consequence his former enmity renewed, forthwith 
assembled an army to punish his refractory son-in-law, Gersi- 


waz was appointed the leader of that army, which was put in 
motion without delay against the unoffending youth. The 
news of Afrasiyilb's warlike preparations satisfied the mind of 
Saiziwush that Gersiwaz had given him good advice, and that 
he had been a faithful monitor, for immediate compliance, he 
now concluded, would have been his utter ruin. When he 
communicated this unwelcome intelligence to Ferangis, she was 
thrown into the greatest alarm and agitation ; but ever fruitful 
in expedients, suggested the course that it seemed necessary he 
should instantly adopt, which was to fly by a circuitous route 
back to Iran. To this he expressed no dissent, provided she 
would accompany him ; but she said it Avas impossible to do so 
on account of the condition she was in. " Leave me," she 
added, " and save thy own life ! " He therefore called together 
his three hundred Iranians, and requesting Ferangis, if she 
happened to be delivered of a son, to call him Kai-khosrau, set 
oil' on his journey. 

" I go, surrounded by my enemies ; 
The hand of merciless Afrasiyab 
Lifted against me." 

It was not the fortune of Saiawush, however, to escape so 
easily as had been anticipated by Ferangis. Gersiwaz was soon 
at his heels, and in the battle that ensued, all the Iranians were 
killed, and also the horse upon which the unfortunate prince 
rode, so that on foot he could make but little progress. In the 
meantime Afrasiyab came up, and surrounding him, wanted to 
shoot him with an arrow, but he was restrained from the violent 
act by the intercession of his people, who recommended his 
being taken alive, and only kept in prison. Accordingly he 
was again attacked and secured, and still Afrasiyab wished to 
put him to death ; but Pilsam, one of his warriors, and the 
brother of Piran, induced him to relinquish that diabolical 
intention, and to convey him back to his own palace. Saiawush 
was then iguominiously fettered and conducted to the royal 
residence, which he had himself erected and ornamented with 


Buch richness and magnificence. The sight of the city and its 
splendid buildings filled every one with wonder and admiration. 
Upon the arrival of Afnisiyab, Ferangis hastened to him in a 
state of the deepest distress, and implored his clemency and 
compassion in favour of Saiawush. 

t; father, he is not to blame, 
Still pure and spotless is his name ; 
Faithful and generous still to n:e, 
And never never false to thce. 
This hate to Gersiwaz he owes, 
The worst, the bitterest of his foes ; 
Did he not thy protection seek, 
And wilt thou overpower the weak ? 
Spill royal blood thou shouldcst bless, 
In cruel sport and wantonness .' 
And earn the curses of mankind, 

Living, in this precarious state, 
And dead, the torments of the mind, 

Which hell inflicts upon the great 
Who revel in a murderous course, 
And rule by cruelty and force. 

It scarce becomes me now to tell, 

What the accursed Zohak befel, 

Or what the punishment which hurled 

Selim and Tiir from out the world. 

And is not Kaus living now, 

With rightful vengeance on his brow ? 

And Rustem, who alone can make 

Thy kingdom to its centre quake ? 

Gudar/, Zuara, and Friburz, 

And Tus, and Girgin, and Framurz ; 

And others too of fearless might, 

To challenge thee to mortal fight 1 

0, from this peril turn away, 

Close not in gloom so bright a day ; 

Some heed to thy poor daughter give, 

And let thy guiltless captive lire." 

The effect of this appeal, solemnly and urgently delivered, 
was only transitory. Afnisiyab felt a little compunction at the 
moment, but soon resumed his ferocious spirit, and to ensure, 
without interruption, the accomplishment of his purpose, con- 
fined Ferangis in one of the remotest parts of the palace ; 


And thus to Gersiwaz unfeeling spoke : 
" Off witn his head, down with the enemy ; 
But take especial notice that his blood 
Stains not the earth, lest it should cry aloud 
For vengeance on us. Take good care of that ! >: 

G-ersiwaz, who was but too ready an instrument, immediately 
directed Karii-zira, a kinsman of Afnisiyilb, who had been also 
one of the most zealous in promoting the ruin of the Persian 
prince, to inflict the deadly blow ; and Saiawush, whilst under 
the grasp of the executioner, had but time to put up a prayer 
to Heaven, in which he hoped that a son might be born to him 
to vindicate his good name, and be revenged on his murderer. 
The executioner then seized him by the hair, and throwing him 
on the ground, severed the head from the body. A golden 
vessel was ready to receive the blood, as commanded by Afrii- 
siyab ; but a few drops happened to be spilt on the soil, and 
upon that spot a tree grew up, which was afterwards called 
Saidwush, and believed to possess many wonderful virtues! 
The blood was carefully conveyed to Afrdsiyab, the head fixed 
on the point of a javelin, and the body was buried with respect 
and affection by his friend Pilsam, who had witnessed the 
melancholy catastrophe. It is also related that a tremendous 
tempest occurred at the time this amiable prince was murdered, 
and that a total darkness covered the face of the earth, so that 
the people could not distinguish each other's faces. Then was 
the name of Afnisiyab truly execrated and abhorred for the 
cruel act he had committed, and all the inhabitants of Khoten 
long cherished the memory of Saiawush. 

Ferangis was frantic with grief when she was told of the sad 
fate of her husband, and all her household uttered the loudest 
lamentations. Pilsam gave the intelligence to Pirau, and the 
proverb was then remembered : " It is better to be in hell, 
than under the rule of Afrasiydb ! " When the deep sorrow of 
Ferangis reached the ears of her father, he determined on a 
summary procedure, and ordered Gersiwaz to have her privately 
made away with, so that there might be no issue of her marriage 
with Saidwush, 


Pfran with horror heard this stern command, 

And hasten'd to the king, and thus addressed him : 

" What ! would'st thou hurl thy vengeance on a woman, 

That woman, too, thy daughter ? Is it wise, 

Or natural, thus to sport with human life ? 

Already hast thou taken from her arms 

Her unoffending husband that was cruel ; 

But thus to shed an innocent woman's blood, 

And kill her unborn infant that would be 

Too dreadful to imagine 1 Is she not 

Thy own fair daughter, given in happier time 

To him who won thy favour and affection ? 

Think but of that, and from thy heart root out 

This demon wish, w r hich leads thee to a crime, 

Mocking concealment ; vain were the endeavour 

To keep the murder secret, and when known, 

The world's opprobrium would pursue thy name. 

And after death, what would thy portion be 1 

No more of this honour me with the charge, 

And 1 will keep her with a father's care, 

In my own mansion." Then Afrasiyab 

Readily answered : " Take her to thy home, 

But when the child is born, let it be brought 

Promptly to me my will must be obeyed." 

Pinin rejoiced at his success ; and assenting to the command 
of Afrasiyab, took Ferangis with him to Khoten, where in due 
time a child was born, and being a son, was called Kai-khosrau. 
As soon as he was born, Piran took measures to prevent his 
being carried off to Afrasiydb, and committed him to the care 
of some peasants on the mountain Kaliin. On the same night 
Afrasiydb had a dream, in which he received intimation of the 
birth of Kai-khosrau ; and upon this intimation he sent for 
Pir&n to know why his commands had not been complied with. 
Pira'n replied, that he had cast away the child in the wilder- 
ness : " And why was he not sent to me ? " inquired the 
despot. " Because," said Pira'n, " I considered thy own future 
happiness ; thou hast unjustly killed the father, and God forbid 
that thou shouldst also kill the son ! " Afrdsiydb was abashed, 
and it is said that ever after the atrocious murder of Saiawush, 
he had been tormented with the most terrible and harrowing 
dreams. Gersiwaz now became hateful to his sight, and he 
began at last deeply to repent of his violence and inhumanity. s 



Kai-khosn'u grew up under the fostering protection of the 
peasants, and showed early marks of surprising talent and 
activity. He excelled in manly exercises ; and hunting ferocious 
animals was his peculiar delight. Instructors had been pro- 
vided to initiate him in all the arts and pursuits cultivated by 
the warriors of those days, and even in his twelfth year accounts 
were forwarded to Piran of several wonderful feats which he 
had performed. 

Then smiled the good old man, and joyful said : 

" Tis ever thus the youth of royal blood 

Will not disgrace his lineage, but betray 

By his superior mien and gallant deeds 

From whence he sprung. : Tis by the luscious fruit 

We know the tree, and glory in its ripeness ! " 

Piran could not resist paying a visit to the youth in his 
mountainous retreat, and, happy to find him, beyond all 
expectation, distinguished for the elegance of his external 
appearance, and the superior qualities of his mind, related to 
him the circumstances under which he had been exposed, and 
the rank and misfortunes of his father. An artifice then 
occurred to him which promised to be of ultimate advantage. 
He afterwards told Afrasiyab that the offspring of Ferangis, 
thrown by him into the wilderness to perish, had been found 
by a peasant and brought up, but that he understood the boy 
was little better than an idiot. Afrasiyab, upon this informa- 
tion, desired that he might be sent for, and in the meantime 
Pirdn took especial care to instruct Kai-khosrdu how he should 
act ; which was to seem in all respects insane, and he accord' 
ingly appeared before the king in the dress of a prince with a 
golden crown on his head, and the royal girdle round his loins. 
Kai-khosrdu proceeded on horseback to the court of Afrasiyab, 
and having performed the usual salutations, was suitably 
received, though with strong feelings of shame and remorse on 
the part of the tyrant. Af nisiyab put several questions to him, 
which were answered in a wild and incoherent manner, entirely 
at variance with the subject proposed. The king could not 


help smiling, and supposing him to be totally deranged, allowed 
him to be sent with presents to his mother, for no harm, he 
thought, could possibly be apprehended from one so forlorn in 
mind. Piran triumphed in the success of his scheme, and lost 
no time in taking Kai-khosniu to his mother. All the people 
of Khoten poured blessings on the head of the youth, and 
imprecations on the merciless spirit of Afrasiyab. The city 
built by Saitiwush had been razed to the ground by the exter- 
minating fury of his enemies, and wild animals and reptiles 
occupied the place on which it stood. The mother and son 
visited the spot where Saiawush was barbarously killed, and the 
tree, which grew up from the soil enriched by his blood, was 
found verdant and flourishing, and continued to possess in 
perfection its marvellous virtues. 

The tale of Saiawush is told ; 
And now the pages bright unfold, 
Rustem's revenge Siiddveh's fate 
Afrasiyab's degraded state, 
And that terrific curse and ban 
Which fell at last upon Turan 1 

When Kai-kaus heard of the fate of his son, and, all its 
aorrible details were pictured to his mind, he was thrown into 
the deepest affliction. His warriors, Tus, and Giidarz, and 
Bahrain, and Friburz, and Ferhad, felt with equal keenness 
the loss of the amiable prince, and Eustem, as soon as the 
dreadful intelligence reached Sistan, set off with his troops to 
the court of the king, still full of indignation at the conduct 
of Kaiis, and oppressed with sorrow respecting the calamity 
which had occurred. On his arrival he thus addressed the 
weeping and disconsolate father of Saiawush, himself at the 

same time drowned in tears : 

H 2 


" How has thy temper turned to nought, the seed 
Which might have grown, and cast a glorious shadow ; 
How is it scattered to the barren winds ! 
Thy love for false Sudaveh was the cause 
Of 'all this misery ; she, the Sorceress, 
O'er whom thou hast so oft in rapture hung, 
Enchanted by her charms ; * she was the cause 
Of this destruction. Thou art woman's slave ! 
Woman, the bane of man's felicity ! 
Who ever trusted woman ? Death were better 
Than being under woman's influence ; 
She places man upon the foamy ridge 
Of the tempestuous wave, which rolls to rain. 
Who ever trusted woman ? Woman ! woman ! ' 
Kaus looked down with melancholy mien, 
And, half consenting, thus to Rustem said : 
" Siidaveh's blandishments absorbed my soul, 
And she has brought this wretchedness upon me." 
Kustem rejoined " The world must be revenged 
Upon this false Sudaveh ; she must die." 
Kaiis was silent ; but his tears flowed fast, 
And shame withheld resistance. Rustem rushed 
Without a pause towards the shubistan ; 
Impatient, nothing could obstruct his speed 
To slay Sudaveh ; her he quickly found, 
And rapidly his sanguinary sword 
Performed its office. Thus the Sorceress died. 
Such was the punishment her crimes receive 1. 

Having thus accomplished the first part of his vengeance, he 
proceeded with the Persian army against Afnisiyab, and all the 
Iranian warriors followed his example. When he had pene- 
trated as far as Ttinin, the enemy sent forward thirty thousand 
men to oppose his progress ; and in the conflict which ensued, 
Feramurz took SarkM, the son of Afrasiydb, prisoner. Rustem 
delivered him over to Ttis to be put to death precisely in 

So Shakespeare : 

Nay, but this dotage of onr general s 

O'erflows the measure : those his goodly eyes 

That o'er the files and musters of the wai 

Have glowed like plated Mars, now bend, now turn, 

The office and devotion of their view 

Upon a tawny front : his captain's heart, 

Which in the scuffles of great fights hath burst 

The buckles on his breast, reneges all temper 

And is become the bellows and the fan 

To cool a gipsy's lust. ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA, I., 1. 


the same manner as Saiawush ; but the captive represented 
himself as the particular friend of Saiawush, and begged tc 
De pardoned on that account. Rustem, however, had sworn 
that he would take his revenge, without pity or remorse, and 
accordingly death was inflicted upon the unhappy prisoner, 
whose blood was received in a dish, and sent to Kaus, and the 
severed head suspended over the gates of the king's palace. 
Afrasiyab hearing of this catastrophe, which sealed the fate 
of his favourite son, immediately collected together the whole 
of the Turanian army, and hastened himself to resist the 
conquering career of the enemy. 

As on they moved ; with loud and dissonant clang ; 
, His numerous troops shut out the prospect round ; 
No suu was visible by day ; no moon, 
Nor stars by night. The tramp of men and steeds, 
And rattling drums, and shouts, were only heard, 
And the bright gleams of armour only seen. 

Ere long the two armies met, when Pilsam, the brother of 
Piran, was ambitious of opposing his single arm against 
Rustem, upon which Afrasiyab said : " Subdue Rustem, and 
thy reward shall be my daughter, and half my kingdom." 
Piran, however, observed that he was too young to be a fit 
match for the experience and valour of the Persian champion, 
and would have dissuaded him from the unequal contest, but 
the choice was his own, and he was consequently permitted by 
Afrasiyab to put his bravery to the test. Pilsam accordingly 
went forth and summoned Rustem to the fight ; but Giw, 
hearing the call, accepted the challenge himself, and had 
nearly been thrown from his horse by the superior activity of 
his opponent. Feramurz luckily saw him at the perilous 
moment, and darting forward, with one stroke of his sword 
shattered Pilsam's javelin to pieces, and then a new strife 
began. Pilsam and Feramurz fought together with desperation, 
till both were almost exhausted, and Rustem himself was 
surprised to see the display of so much valour. Perceiving 
the wearied state of the two warriors he pushed forward 


Rakush, and called aloud to Pilsani : "Am I not the person 
challenged ? " and immediately the Turanian chief proceeded 
to encounter him, striking with all his might at the head of 
the champion ; but though the sword was broken by the blow, 
not a hair of his head was disordered. 

Then Rustcm urging on his gallant steed, 

Fixed his long javelin in the girdle band 

Of his ambitious foe, and quick unhorsed him ; 

Then dragged him on towards Afrasiyab, 

And, scoffing, cast him at the despot's feet. 

" Here comes the glorious conqueror," he said ; 

" Now give to him thy daughter and thy treasure, 

Thy kingdom and thy soldiers ; has he not 

Done honour to thy country ? Ts he not 

A jewel in thy crown of sovereignty ? 

What arrogance inspired the fruitless hope ! 

Think of thy treachery to Saiawush ; 

Thy savage cruelty, and never look 

For aught but deadly hatred from mankind ; 

And in the field of fight defeat and ruin." 

Thus scornful]}'- lie spoke, and not a man, 

Though in the presence of Afrasiyab, 

Had soul to meet him ; fear o'ercame them all 

Monarch and warriors, for a time. At length 

Shame was awakened, and the king appeared 

In arms against the champion. Fiercely they 

Hurled their sharp javelins Rustem's struck the head 

Of his opponent's horse, which floundering fell, 

And overturned his rider. Anxious then 

The champion sprang to seize the royal prize ; 

But Human rushed between, and saved his master, 

Who vaulted on another horse and fled. 

Having thus rescued Afrasiydb, the wary chief exercised all 
his cunning and adroitness to escape himself, and at last 
succeeded. Rustem pursued him, and the Tiirdnian troops, 
who had followed the example of the king ; but though 
thousands were slain in the chase which continued for many 
farsangs, no further advantage was obtained on that day. 
Next morning, however, Rustem resumed his pursuit ; and the 
enemy hearing of his approach, retreated into Chinese Tartary, 
to secure, among other advantages, the person of Kai-khosrau ; 
leaving the kingdom of Turin at the mercy of the invader, 


who mounted the throne, and ruled there, it is said, about 
seven years, with memorable severity, proscribing and putting 
to death every person who mentioned the name of Afrtisiyab. 
In the mean time he made splendid presents to Tiis and 
Giidarz, suitable to their rank and services ; and Zuiira, in 
revenge for the monstrous outrage committed upon Saiawush, 
burnt and destroyed every thing that came in his way ; his 
wrath being exasperated by the sight of the places in which the 
young prince had resided, and recreated himsolf with hunting 
and other sports of the field. The whole realm, in fact, was 
delivered over to plunder and devastation ; and every individual 
of the army was enriched by the appropriation of public and 
private wealth. The companions of Rustem, however, grew 
weary of residing in Tiiran, and they strongly represented to 
him the neglect which Kai-kaus had suffered for so many 
years, recommending his return to Persia, as being more 
honourable than the exile they endured in an ungenial climate. 
Rustem's abandonment of the kingdom was at length earned 
into effect ; and he and his warriors did not fail to take away 
with them all the immense property that remained in jewels 
and gold ; part of which was conveyed by the champion to 
Zabul and Sistan, and a goodly proportion to the king of kings 
in Persia. 

When to Afrasiyab was known 

The plunder of his realm and throne, 

That the destroyer's reckless hand 

With fire and sword had scathed the land, 

Sorrow and anguish filled his soul, 

And passion raged beyond control ; 

And thus he to his warriors said : 

" At such a time, is valour dead? 

The man who hears the mournful talc. 

And is not by his country's bale 

Urged on to vengeance, cannot be 

Of woman born ; accursed is he ! 

The time will come when I shall reap 

The harvest of resentment deep ; 

And till arrives that fated hour, 

Farewell to joy in hall or bower." 

Rustem, in taking revenge for the murder of, had 


not been unmindful of Kai-khosrau, and had actually sent to 
the remote parts of Tartaiy in quest of him. 

It is said that Giidarz beheld in a dream the young prince, 
who pointed out to him his actual residence, and intimated 
that of all the warriors of Kaiis, Giw was the only one destined 
to restore him to the world and his birth-right. The old man 
immediately requested his son Giw to go to the place where the 
stranger would be found. Giw readily complied, and in his 
progress provided himself at every stage successively with a 
guide, whom he afterwards slew to prevent discovery, and in 
this manner he proceeded till he reached the boundary of Chin, 
enjoying no comfort by day, or sleep by night. His only food 
was the flesh of the wild ass, and his only covering the skin of 
the same animal. He went on traversing mountain and forest, 
enduring every privation, and often did he hesitate, often did 
he think of returning, but honour urged him forward in spite 
of the trouble and impediments with which he was continually 
assailed. Arriving in a desert one day, he happened to meet 
with several persons, who upon being interrogated, said that 
they were sent by Piran "Wisah in search of Kai-kaiis. Giw 
kept his own secret, saying that he was amusing himself with 
hunting the wild ass, but took care to ascertain from them the 
direction in which they were going. During the night the 
parties separated, and in the morning Giw proceeded rapidly 
on his route, and after some time discovered a youth sitting by 
the side of a fountain, with a cup in his hand, whom he sup- 
posed to be Kai-khosrdu. The youth also spontaneously 
thought " This must be Giw ; " and when the traveller ap- 
proached him, and said, " I am sure thou art the son of Saia- 
wush ; " the youth observed, " I am equally sure that thou art 
Giw, the son of Giidarz." At this Giw was amazed, and falling 
at his feet, asked how, and from what circumstance, he recog- 
nized him. The youth replied that he knew all the warriors of 
Kalis ; Rustem, and Kishwad, and Tiis, and Giidarz, and the 
rest, from their portraits in his father's gallery, they being 
deeply impressed on his mind. He then asked in Avhat way 


Giw had discovered him to be Kai-khosrau, and Gi\v answered, 
" Because I perceived something kingly in thy countenance. 
But let me again examine thee ! " The youth, at this request, 
removed his garments, and Giw beheld that mark on his body 
which was the heritage of the race of Kai-kobad. Upon this 
discovery he rejoiced, and congratulating himself and the young 
prince on the success of his mission, related to him the purpose 
for which he had come. Kai-khosrau was soon mounted on 
horseback, and Giw accompanied him respectfully on foot. 
They, in the first instance, pursued their way towards the 
abode of Ferangis, his mother. The persons sent by Pinln 
Wisah did not arrive at the place where Kai-khosrdu had been 
kept till long after Giw and the prince departed ; and then 
they were told that a Persian horseman had come and carried 
off the youth, upon which they immediately returned, and 
communicated to Piran what had occurred. Ferangis, in re- 
covering her son, mentioned to Giw, with the fondness of a 
mother, the absolute necessity of going on without delay, and 
pointed out to him the meadow in which some of Afra"siy;ib's 
horses were to be met with, particularly one called Behzad, 
which once belonged to Saitiwush, and which her father had 
kept in good condition for his own riding. Giw, therefore, 
went to the meadow, and throwing his kamund, secured Behzad 
and another horse ; and all three being thus accommodated, 
hastily proceeded on their journey towards Iran. 

Tidings of the escape of Kai-khosriu having reached Afra"- 
siyab, he dispatched Kulbad with three hundred horsemen after 
him ; and so rapid were his movements that he overtook the 
fugitives in the vicinity of Bulgharia. Khosrau and his mother 
were asleep, but Giw being awake, and seeing an armed force 
evidently in pursuit of his party, boldly put on his armour, 
mounted Behzad, and before the enemy came up, advanced to 
the charge. He attacked the horsemen furiously with sword 
and mace, for he had heard the prophecy, which declared that 
Kai-khosrau was destined to be the king of kings, and therefore 
he braved the direst peril with confidence, and the certainty of 


success. It was this feeling which enabled him to perform such 
a prodigy of valour, in putting Kulbad and his three hundred 
horsemen to the route. They all fled defeated, and dispersed 
precipitately before him. After this surprising victory, he re- 
turned to the halting place, and told Kai-khosniu what he had 
done. The prince was disappointed at not having been 
awakened to participate in the exploit, but Giw said, " I did 
not wish to disturb thy s \vect slumbers unnecessarily. It was 
thy good fortune and prosperous star, however, which made me 
triumph over the enemy." The three travellers then resuming 
their journey : 

Through dreary track, and pathless waste, 
And wood and wild, their way they traced. 

The return of the defeated Kulbad excited the greatest 
indignation in the breast of Piran. " What ! three hundred 
soldiers to fly from the valour of one man ! Had Giw pos- 
sessed even the activity and might of Rusfcem and Sam, such a 
shameful discomfiture could scarcely have happened." Saying 
this, he ordered the whole force under his command to be got 
ready, and set off himself to overtake and intercept the fugi- 
tives, who, fatigued with the toilsome march, were only able to 
proceed one stage in the day. Piran, therefore, who travelled 
at the rate of one hundred leagues a day, overtook them before 
they had passed through Bulgharia. Ferangis, who saw the 
enemy's banner floating in the air, knew that it belonged to 
Piran, and instantly awoke the two young men from sleep. 
Upon this occasion, Khosrau insisted on acting his part, instead 
of being left ignominiously idle ; but Giw was still resolute and 
determined to preserve him from all risk, at the pei'il of his 
own life. " Thou art destined to be the king of the world ; 
thou art yet young, and a novice, and hast never known the 
toils of war ; Heaven forbid that any misfortune should befall 
thee : indeed, whilst I live, I Avill never suffer thee to go into 
battle ! " Khosrau then proposed to give him assistance ; but 
Giw said he wanted no assistance, not even from Rustem ; 


" for," he added, " in art and strength we are equal, having 
frequently tried our skill together." Rustem had given his 
daughter in marriage to Giw, he himself being married to Giw's 
sister. " Bo of good cheer," resumed he, " get upon some high 

place, and witness the battle between us. 

Fortune will still from Heaven dcscenJ, 
The god of victory is my friend." 

As soon as he took the field, Piran thus addressed him : 
" Thou hast once, singly, defeated three hundred of my 
soldiers ; thou shalt now see what punishment awaits thce at 
my hands. 

For should a warrior be a rock of steel, 
A thousand ants, gathered on every side, 
In time will make him but a heap of dust." 

In reply, Giw said to Piran, " I am the man who bound thy 
two women, and sent them from China to Persia Rustem and 
I are the same in battle. Thou knowcst, when he encountered 
a thousand horsemen, what was the result, and what he accom- 
plished ! Thou wilt find me the same : is not a lion enough to 
overthrow a thousand kids ? 

If but a man survive of thy proud host, 

Brand me with coward say I'm not a warrior. 

Already have I triumphed o'er Kulbad, 

And now I'll take thee prisoner, yea, alive ! 

And send thce to Kaus there thou wilt be 

Slain to avenge the death of Saiawush ; 

Turan shall perish, and Af rasiyab, 

And every earthly hope extinguished quite." 

Hearing this awf ul threat, Piran turned pale 

And shook with terror, trembling like a reed ; 

And saying : " Go, I will not fight with thce ! " 

But Giw asked fiercely : " Why ? " And on he rushed 

Against the foe, who fled but 'twas in vain. 

The kamund round the old man's neck was thrown, 

And he was taken captive. Then his troops 

Showered their sharp arrows on triumphant Giw, 

To free their master, who was quickly brought 

Before Kai-khosrau, and the kamund placed 

Within his royal hands. This service done, 

Giw sped against the Tartars, and full soon 

Defeated and dispersed them. 


On his return, Giw expressed his astonishment that Pirdn 
\vas still alive ; when Ferangis interposed, and weeping, said 
how much she had been indebted to his interposition and the 
most active humanity on various occasions, and particularly in 
saving herself and Kai-khosrau from the wrath of Afrasiyab 
after the deatlTof Saiawush. " If," said she, " after so much 
generosity he has committed one fault, let it be forgiven. 

Let not the man of many virtues die, 
For being guilty of one trifling error. 
Let not the friend who nobly saved my life, 
And more, the dearer life of Kai-khosrau, 
Suffer from us. O, he must never, never, 
Feel the sharp pang of foul ingratitude. 
From a true prince of the Kaianian race." 


But Giw paused, and said, " I have sworn to crimson the 
earth with his blood, and I must not pass from my oath." 
Khosrdu then suggested to him to pierce the lobes of Piran's 
ears, and drop the blood on the ground to stain it, in order that 
he might not depart from his word ; and this humane fraud 
was accordingly committed. Khosrau further interceded ; and 
instead of being sent a captive to Kaiis, the good old man was 
set at liberty. 

When the particulars of this event were described to Afra- 
siyab by Piran "Wisah, he was exceedingly sorrowful, and 
lamented deeply that Kai-khosniu had so successfully effected 
his escape. But he had recourse to a further expedient, and 
sent instructions to all the ferrymen of the Jihun, with a 
minute description of the three travellers, to prevent their 
passing that river, announcing at the same time that he himself 
was in pursuit of them. Not a moment was lost in preparing 
his army for the march, and he moved forward with the utmost 
expedition, night and day. At the period when G iw arrived on 
the banks of the Jihun, the stream was very rapid and for- 
midable, and he requested the ferrymen to produce their cer- 
tificates to show themselves equal to their duty. They 
pretended that their certificates were lost, but demanded for 


their fare the black horse upon which Giw rode. Giw replied, 
that he could not part with his favourite horse ; and they re- 
joined, " Then give us the damsel who accompanies you." Giw 
answered, and said, " This is not a damsel, but the mother of 
that youth ! " " Then," observed they, " give us the youth's 
crown." But Giw told them that he could not comply with 
their demand ; yet he was ready to reward them with money to 
any extent. The pertinacious ferrymen, who were not anxious 
for money, then demanded his armour, and this was also 
refused ; and such was their independence or their effrontery, 
that they replied, " If not one of these four things you are 
disposed to grant, cross the river as best you may." Giw 
whispered to Kal-khosrau, and told him that there was no time 
for delay. " When Kavah, the blacksmith," said he, " rescued 
thy great ancester, Feridiin, he passed the stream in his armour 
without impediment ; and why should we, in a cause of equal 
glory, hesitate for a moment ? " Under the inspiring influence 
of an auspicious omen, and confiding in the protection of the 
Almighty, Kai-khosrau at once impelled his foaming horse into 
the river ; his mother, Feringis, followed with equal intrepidity, 
and then Giw ; and notwithstanding the perilous passage, they 
all successfully overcame the boiling surge, and landed in 
safety, to the utter amazement of the ferrymen, who of course 
had expected they would be drowned. 

It so happened that at the moment they touched the shore, 
Afrdsiyab with his army arrived, and had the mortification to 
see the fugitives on the other bank, beyond his reach. His 
wonder was equal to his disappointment. 

" What spirits must they have to brave 
The terrors of that boiling wave 
With steed and harness, riding o'er 
The billows to the further shore." 
It was a cheering sight, they say, 
To see how well they kept their way, 
How Ferangis impelled her horse 
Across that awful torrent's course, 
Guiding him with heroic hand, 
To reach unhurt the friendly strand. 


Afnlsiyub continued for some time mute with astonishment 
and vexation, and when he recovered, ordered the ferrymen, to 
get ready their boats to pass him over the river ; but Human 
dissuaded him from that measure, saying that they could only 
convey a few troops, and they would doubtless be received 
by a large force of the enemy on the other side. At these words, 
Afrasiytib seemed to devour his own blood with grief and in- 
dignation, and immediately retracing his steps, returned to 

As soon as Giw entered within the boundary of the Persian 
empire, he poured out thanksgivings to God for his protection, 
and sent intelligence to Kaiis of the safe arrival of the party 
in his dominions. The king rejoiced exceedingly, and ap- 
pointed an honorary deputation under the direction of Giidarz, 
to meet the young prince on the road. On first seeing him, the 
king moved forward to receive him ; and weeping affectionately, 
kissed his eyes and face, and had a throne prepared for him 
exactly like his own, upon which he seated him ; and calling 
the nobles and warriors of the land together, commanded them 
to obey him. Ah 1 readily promised their allegiance, excepting 
Tiis, who left the court in disgust, and repairing forthwith to 
the house of Friburz, one of the sous of Kails, told him that he 
would only pay homage and obedience to him, and not to the 
infant whom Giw had just brought out of a desert. Next 
day the great men and leaders were again assembled to declare 
publicly by an official act their fealty to Kai-khosrau, and 
Tiis was also invited to the banquet, which was held on the 
occasion, but he refused to go. Giw \vas deputed to repeat the 
invitation ; and he then said, " I shall pay homage to Friburz, 
as the heir to the throne, and to no other. 

" For is he not the son of Kai-kaus, 

And worthy of the regal crown and throne ? 

1 want not any of the race of Posh an g 

None of the proud Turanian dynasty 

Fruitless has been thy peril, Giw, to bring 

A silly child among us, to defraud 

The rightful prince of his inheritance 1 " 


Giw, in reply, vindicated the character and attainments of 
Khosrau, but Tus was not to be appeased. He therefore re- 
turned to his father and communicated to him what had oc- 
curred. Giidarz was roused to great wrath by this resistance to 
the will of the king, and at once took twelve thousand men and 
his seventy-eight kinsmen, together with Giw, and proceeded 
to support his cause by force of arms. Tus, apprized of his in- 
tentions, prepared to meet him, but was reluctant to commit 
himself by engaging in a civil war, and said, internally : 

" If I unshcath the sword of strife, 

Numbers on either side will fall, 
I would not sacrifice the life 

Of one who owns my sovereign's thrall. 

My country would abhor the deed, 

And may I never see the hour 
When Persia's sons are doomed to bleed, 

But when opposed to foreign power. 

The cause must be both good and true, 

And if their blood in war must flow, 
Will it not seem of brighter hue, 

When shed to crush the Tartar foe ? " 

Possessing these sentiments, Tiis sent an envoy to Giidarz, 
suggesting the suspension of any hostile proceedings until 
information on the subject had been first communicated to the 
king. Kaiis was extremely displeased with Giidarz for his pre- 
cipitancy and folly, and directed both him and Tus to repair 
immediately to court. Tus there said frankly, " I now owe 
honour and allegiance to king Kaiis ; but should he happen to 
lay aside the throne and the diadem, my obedience and loyalty 
will be due to Friburz his heir, and not to a stranger." To 
this, Giidarz replied, " Sai<iwush was the eldest son of the king, 
and unjustly murdered, and therefore it becomes his majesty to 
appease and rejoice the soul of the deceased, by putting Kai- 
khosrau in his place. Kai-khosriiu, like Feridiin, is worthy of 
empire ; all the nobles of the land are of this opinion, excepting 
thyself, which must arise from ignorance and vanity. 


From Naudcr certainly thou art descended, 
Not from a stranger, not from foreign loins ; 
But though thy ancestor was wise and mighty, 
Art thou of equal merit ? No, not thou ! 
Kegarding Khosrau, thou hast neither shewn 
Reason nor sense but most surprising folly ! " 
To this contemptuous speech, Tus thus replied : 
" Ungenerous warrior ! wherefore thus employ 
Such scornful words to me ? Who art thou, pray 1 
Who, but the low descendant of a blacksmith ? 
No Khosrau claims thee for his son, no chief 
Of noble blood ; whilst I can truly boast 
Kindred to princes of the highest worth, 
And merit not to be obscured by thee ! " 
To him then Gudarz : " Hear me for this once, 
Then shut thy cars for ever. Need I blush 
To be the kinsman of the glorious Kavah ? 
It is my humour to be proud of him. 
Although he was a blacksmith ; that same mnn, 
Who, when the world could little boast of valour, 
Tore up the name-roll of the fiend Zohak. 
And gave the Persians freedom from the fangs 
Of the devouring serpents. He it was, 
Who raised the banner, and proclaimed aloud, 
Freedom for Persia 1 Need I blush for him 1 
To him the empire owes its greatest blessing, 
The prosperous rule of virtuous Feridun." 
Tus wrathf ally rejoined : " Old man ! thy arrow 
May pierce an anvil mine can pierce the heart > 
Of the Kaf mountain ! If thy mace can break 
A rock asunder mine can strike the sun ! " 

The anger of the two heroes beginning to exceed all proper 
bounds, Kaiis commanded silence ; when Gudarz came forward, 
and asked permission to say one word more : " Call Khosrau 
and Friburz before thee, and decide impartially between them 
which is the most worthy of sovereignty let the wisest and 
the bravest only be thy successor to the throne of Persia." 
Kaiis replied : 

" The father has no choice among his children, 
He loves them all alike his only care 
Is to prevent disunion ; to preserve 
Brotherly kindness and respect among them." 

After a pause, he requested the attendance of Friburz and 
Khosrdu, and told them that there was a demon-fortress in the 


vicinity of his dominions called Bahmen, from which fire was 
continually issuing. " Go, each of you," said he, "against this for- 
tress, supported by an army with which you shall each be equally 
provided, and the conqueror shall be the sovereign of Persia." 
Friburz was not sorry to hear of this probationary scheme, and 
only solicited to be sent first on the expedition. He and Tiis 
looked upon the task as perfectly easy, and promised to be back 
triumphant in a short time. 

But when the army reached that awful fort, 

The ground seemed all in flames on every side ; 

One universal fire raged round and round, 

And the hot wind was like the scorching breath 

Which issues from red furnaces, where spirits 

Infernal dwell. Full many a warrior brave, 

And many a soldier perished in that heat, 

Consumed to ashes. Nearer to the fort 

Advancing, they beheld it in mid-air, 

But not a living thing nor gate, nor door ; 

Yet they remained one week, hoping to find 

Some hidden inlet, suffering cruel loss 

Hour after hour but none could they descry. 

At length, despairing, they returned, worn out, 

Scorched, and half -dead with watching, care, and toil. 

And thus Friburz and Tus, discomfited 

And sad, appeared before the Persian king. 

Then was it Khosrau's turn, and him Kaiis 
Dispatched with Giw, and Gudarz, and the troops 
Appointed for that enterprise, and blessed them. 
When the young prince approached the destined scene 
Of his exploit, he saw the blazing fort 
Reddening the sky and earth, and well he knew 
This was the work of sorcery, the spell 
Of demon-spirits. In a heavenly dream, 
He had been taught how to destroy the charms 
Of fell magicians, and defy their power, 
Though by the devil, the devil himself, sustained, 
He wrote the name of God, and piously 
Bound it upon his javelin's point, and pressed 
Fearlessly forward, showing it on high ; 
And Giw displayed it on the magic walls 
Of that proud fortress breathing forth a prayer 
Craving the aid of the Almighty arm ; 
When suddenly the red fires died awav f 
And all the world was darkness. Khosrau's troopl 
Following the orders of their prince, then shot 
Thick clouds of arrows from ten thousand bows, 
lu the direction of the enchanted tower, 

tfd filE SHAfi NAMES. 

The arrows fell like rain, and quickly slew 

A host of demons, presently bright light 

Dispelled the gloom, and as the mist relied off 

In sulphury circles, the surviving fiends 

Were seen in rapid flight ; the fortress, too, 

Distinctly shone, and its prodigious gate. 

Through which the conquerors passed. Great wealth they 


And having sacked the place, Khosrau erected 
A lofty temple, to commemorate 
His name and victory there, then back returned 
Triumphantly to gladden king Kaus, 
Whose heart expanded at the joyous news. 

The result of Kai-khosrau's expedition against the enchanted 
castle, compared -with that of Friburz, was sufficient of itself to 
establish the former in the king's estimation, and accordingly 
it was announced to the princes and nobles and warriors of the 
land, that he should succeed to the throne, and be crowned on 
a fortunate day. A short time afterwards the coronation took 
place with great pomp and splendour ; and Khosrau conducted 
himself towards men of every rank and station with such perfect 
kindness and benevolence, that he gained the affections of all 
and never failed daily to pay a visit to his grandfather Kaiis, 
and to familiarize himself with the affairs of the kingdom which 
he was destined to govern. 

Justice he spread with equal hand, 
Rooting oppression from the land ; 
And every desert, wood, and wild, 
With early cultivation smiled ; 
And every plain, with verdure clad, 
And every Persian heart was glad. 



The tidings of Khosrau's accession to the throne were received 
at Sistan by Zal and Rustem with heartfelt pleasure, and they 
forthwith hastened to court with rich presents, to pay him 
their homage, and congratulate him on the occasion of his 
elevation. The heroes were met on the road with suitable 
honours, and Khosrau embracing Rustem affectionately, lost no 
time in asking for his assistance in taking vengeance for the 
death of Saiawush. The request was no sooner made than 
granted, and the champion having delivered his presents, then 
proceeded with his father Zdl to wait upon Kaiis, who prepared 
a royal banquet, and entertained Khosrau and them in the most 
sumptuous manner. It was there agreed to march a large army 
against Afrasiydb ; and all the warriors zealously came forward 
with their best services, except Zal, who on account of his age 
requested to remain tranquilly in his own province. Khosrau 
said to Kalis : 

" The throne can yield no happiness for me, 
Nor can I sleep the sleep of health and joy 
Till I have been revenged on that destroyer. 
The tyrant of Tiiran ; to please the spirit 
Of my poor butchered father." 

Kaiis, on delivering over to him the imperial army, made him 
acquainted with the character and merits of every individual of 
importance. He appointed Friburz, and a hundred warriors, 
who were the prince's friends and relatives, to situations of 
trust and command, and Tiis was among them. Giidarz and 
his seventy-eight sons and grandsons were placed on the right, 
and Gustahem, the brother of Tiis, with an immense levy on 
the left. There were also close to Khosrau's person, in the 
centre of the hosts, thirty-three warriors of the race of Poshang, 
and a separate guard under Byzun. 

In their progress Khosrau said to Friburz and Tiis, " Fenid, 
who is my brother, has built a strong fort in Bokhara, called 


Kulliib, which stands on the way to the enemy, and there he 
resides with his mother, Giilshaher. Let him not be molested, 
for he is also the son of Saiawush, but pass on one side of his 
possessions." Friburz did pass on one side as requested ; but 
Tiis, not liking to proceed by the way of the desert, and prefer- 
ing a cultivated and pleasant country, went directly on through 
the places which led to the very fort in question. When Fenid 
was informed of the approach of Tiis with an armed force, he 
naturally concluded that he was coming to fight him, and con- 
sequently determined to oppose his progress. TUB, however, sent 
Riu, his son-in-law, to explain to Ferud that he had no quarrel 
or business with him, and only wished to pass peaceably through 
his province ; but Ferud thought this was merely an idle pre- 
text, and proceeding to hostilities, Riii was killed by him in the 
conflict that ensued. TUB, upon being informed of this result, 
drew up his army, and besieged the fort into which Fenid had 
precipitately retired. When Fenid, however, found that Tiis 
himself was in the field, he sallied forth from his fastness, and 
assailed him with his bow and arrows. One of the darts struck 
and killed the horse of Tus, and tumbled his rider to the ground. 
Upon this occurrence Giw rushed forward in the hopes of 
capturing the prince ; but it so happened that he was unhorsed 
in the same way. Byzun, the son of Giw, seeing with great 
indignation this signal overthrow, wished to be revenged on the 
victor ; and though his father endeavoured to restrain him, 
nothing could control his wrath. He sprang speedily forward 
to fulfil his menace, but by the bravery and expertness of Fenid, 
his horse was killed, and he too Avas thrown headlong from his 
saddle. Unsubdued, however, he rose upon his feet, and invited 
his antagonist to single combat. In consequence of this chal- 
lenge, they fought a short time with spears till Fenid deemed 
it advisable to retire into his fort, from the lofty walls of which 
he cast down so many stones, that Byzun was desperately 
wounded, and compelled to leave the place. When he informed 
Tiis of the misfortune which had befallen him, that warrior 
vowed that on the following day not a man should remain alive 


in the fort. The mother of Feriid, who was the daughter of 
Wisah, had at this period a dream which informed her that th< 
fortress had taken fire, and that the whole of the inhabitants 
had been consumed to death. This dream she communicated 
to Ferud, who said in reply : 

" Mother 1 I have no dread of death ; 
What is there in this vital breath ? 
My sire was wounded, and he died ; 
And fate may lay me by his side 1 
Was ever man immortal ? never ! 
We cannot, mother, live for ever. 
Mine be the task in life to claim 
In war a bright and spotless name. 
What boots it to be pale with fear, 
And dread each grief that waits us here ? 
Protected by the power divine, 
Our lot is written why repine ? 

Tiis, according to his threat, attacked the fort, and burst 
open the gates. Feriid defended himself with great valour 
against Byzun ; and whilst they were engaged in deadly battle, 
Bahrain, the hero, sprang up from his ambuscade, and striking 
furiously upon the head of Ferud, killed that unfortunate youth 
on the spot. The mother, the beautiful Gulshaher, seeing what 
had befallen her son, rushed out of the fort in a state of frenzy, 
and flying to him, clasped him in her arms in an agony of 
grief. Unable to survive his loss, she plunged a dagger in her 
own breast, and died at his feet. The Persians then burst open 
the gates, and plundered the city. Bahrdm, when he saw what 
had been done, reproached Tiis with being the cause of this 
melancholy tragedy, and asked him what account he would 
give of his conduct to Kai-khosra'u. Tiis was extremely con- 
cerned, and remaining three days at that place, erected a lofty 
monument to the memory of the unfortunate youth, and scented 
it with musk and camphor. He then pushed forward his 
army to attack another fort. That fort gave way, the com- 
mandant being killed in the attack ; and he then hastened on 
towards Afrasiydb, who had ordered Niziid with thirty thousand 
horsemen to meet him. Byzun distinguished himself in the. 


contest which followed, but would have fallen into the hands of 
the enemy if he had not been rescued by his men, and conveyed 
from the field of battle. Afrasiyab pushed forward another 
force of forty thousand horsemen under Piran "\Visah, who 
suffered considerable loss in an engagement with Giw ; and in 
consequence fell back for the purpose of retrieving himself by a 
shubkhiin, or night attack. The resolution proved to be a 
good one ; for when night came on, the Persians were found 
off their guard, many of them being intoxicated, and the havoc 
and destruction committed among them by the Tartars was 
dreadful. The survivors were in a miserable state of despon- 
dency, but it was not till morning dawned that Tiis beheld the 
full extent of his defeat and the ruin that surrounded him. 
"When Kai-khosrau heard of this heavy reverse, he wrote to 
Friburz, saying, " I warned Tiis not to proceed by the way of 
KulLib, because my brother and his mother dwelt in that place, 
and their residence ought to have been kept sacred. He has 
not only despised my orders, but he has cruelly occasioned the 
untimely death of both.. Let him be bound, and sent to me a 
prisoner, and do thou assume the command of the army." 
Friburz accordingly placed Tiis in confinement, and sent him 
to Khosrdu, who received and treated him with reproaches and 
wrath, and consigned him to a dungeon. He then wrote to 
Pirdn, reproaching him for resorting to a night attack so un- 
worthy of a brave man, and challenging him to resume the 
battle with him. Piran said that he would meet him after the 
lapse of a month, and at the expiration of that period both 
armies were opposed to each other. The contest commenced 
with arrows, then swords, and then with javelins ; and Giw 
and Byzun were the foremost in bearing down the warriors of 
the enemy, who suffered so severely that they turned aside to 
attack Friburz, against whom they hoped to be more successful. 
The assault which they made was overwhelming, and vast 
numbers were slain, so that Friburz, finding himself driven to 
extremity, was obliged to shelter himself and his remaining 
troops on the skirts of a mountain. In the meantime Gudarz 


and Giw determined to keep their ground or perish, and sent 
Byzun to Friburz to desire him to join them, or if that was 
impracticable, to save the imperial banner by dispatching it to 
their care. To this message, Friburz replied : " The traitors 
are triumphant over me on every side, and I cannot go, nor 
will I give up the imperial banner, but, tell Giidarz to come to 
my aid." Upon receiving this answer, Byzun struck the 
standard-bearer dead, and snatching up the Derafsh Gavahni, 
conveyed it to Giidarz, who, raising it on high, directed his 
troops against the enemy ; and so impetuous was the charge, 
that the carnage on both sides was prodigious. Only eight of 
the sons of Giidarz remained alive, seventy of his kindred 
having been slain on that day, and many of the family of 
Kalis were also killed. Nor did the relations of Afriisiyab and 
Piriin suffer in a less degree, nine hundred of them, warriors 
and cavaliers, were sent out of the world ; yet victory remained 
with the Turanians. 

When Afnisiyab was informed of the result of this battle, he 
sent presents and honorary dresses to his officers, saying, " We 
must not be contented with this triumph ; you have yet to 
obscure the martial glory of Rustem and Khosrau." Piran 
replied, " No doubt that object will be accomplished with equal 

After the defeat of the Persian army, Friburz retired under 
the cover of night, and at length arrived at the court of 
Khosrau, who was afflicted with the deepest sorrow, both on 
account of his loss in battle and the death of his brother 
Fenid. Rustem was now as usual applied to for the purpose of 
consoling the king, and extricating the empire from its present 
misfortunes. Khosrau was induced to liberate Tus from his 
confinement, and requested Eustem to head the army against 
Piriin, but Tus promptly offered his services, and the champion 
observed, " He is fully competent to oppose the arms of Piran ; 
but if Afnisiyab takes the field, I will myself instantly follow 
to the war." Khosrdu accordingly deputed Tus and Giidan. 
with a large army, and the two hostile powers were soon placed 


in opposition to each other. It is said that they were engaged 
seven days and nights, and that on the eighth Hum^n came 
forward, and challenged several warriors to fight singly, all of 
whom he successively slew. He then called upon Tiis, but 
Giidarz not permitting him to accept the challenge, sent Giw in 
his stead. The combatants met ; and after being wounded and 
exhausted by their struggles for mastery, each returned to his 
own post. The armies again engaged with arrows, and again 
the carnage was great, but the battle remained undecided. 

Pirdn had now recourse to supernatural agency, and sent 
Bani, a renowned magician, perfect in his art, upon the neigh- 
bouring mountains, to involve them in darkness, and produce 
by his conjuration tempestuous showers of snow and hail. 
He ordered him to direct all their intense severity against the 
enemy, and to avoid giving any annoyance to the Turanian 
army. Accordingly when Human and Pirdn Wisah made their 
attack, they had the co-operation of the elements, and the 
consequence was a desperate overthrow of the Persian army. 

So dreadful was the carnage, that the plain 
"Was crimsoned with the blood of warriors slain. 

In this extremity, Tiis and Giidarz piously put up a prayer to 
God, earnestly soliciting protection from the horrors with which 
they were surrounded. 

Thou 1 the clement, the compassionate, 
We are thy servants, succour our distress, 
And save us from the sorcery that now 
Yields triumph to the foe. In thee alone 
We place our trust ; graciously hear our prayer ! 

Scarcely had this petition been uttered, when a mysterious 
person appeared to Rehiim from the invisible world, and 
pointed to the mountain from whence the tempest descended. 
Reham immediately attended to the sign, and galloped forward 
to the" mountain, where he discovered the magician upon its 
summit, deeply engaged in incantations and witchcraft. Forth- 
with he drew his sword and cut off this wizard's arms. 


Suddenly a whirlwind arose, which dissipated the utter dark- 
ness that prevailed ; and then nothing remained of the preter- 
natural gloom, not a particle of the hail or snow was to be 
seen : Reham, however, brought him down from the mountain 
and after presenting him before Tiis, put an end to his wicked 
existence. The armies were now on a more equal footing : 
they beheld more clearly the ravages that had been committed 
by each, and each had great need of rest. They acccordingly 
retired till the following day, and then again opposed each 
other with renewed vigour and animosity. But fortune would 
not smile on the exertions of the Persian hosts, they being 
obliged to fall back upon the mountain Hamawun and in the 
fortress situated there Tiis deposited all his sick and wounded, 
continuing himself in advance to ensure their protection. 
Pinin seeing this, ordered his troops to besiege the place where 
Tus had posted himself. This was objected to by Human, but 
Piran was resolved upon the measure, and had several con- 
flicts with the enemy without obtaining any advantage over 
them. In the mountain-fortress there happened to be wells of 
water and abundance of grain and provisions, so that the 
Persians were in no danger of being reduced by starvation. 
Khosniu, however, being informed of their situation, sent 
Kustem, accompanied by Friburz, to their assistance, and they 
were both welcomed, and received with rejoicing, and cordial 
satisfaction. The fortress gates were thrown open, and Kustem 
was presently seen seated upon a throne in the public hall, 
deliberating on the state of affairs, surrounded by the most 
distinguished leaders of the army. 

In the mean while Piran "Wisah had written to Afnisiyab, 
informing him that he had reduced the Persian army to great 
distress, had forced them to take refuge in a mountain fort, and 
requested a further reinforcement to complete the victory, and 
make them all prisoners. Afrasiyab in consequence dispatched 
three illustrious confederates from different regions. There 
was Shinkul of Sugsar, the Khakaii of Chin, whose crown was 


the starry heavens, and Kamiis of Kushan, a hero of high 
renown and wondrous in every deed. 

For when he frowned, the air grew freezing cold ; 
And when he smiled, the genial spring showered clown 
Roses and hyacinths, and all was brightness ! 

Piran went first to pay a visit to Kamiis, to whom he, almost 
trembling, described the amazing strength and courage of 
Rustem : but Kamiis was too powerful to express alarm ; on 
the contrary, he said : 

" Is praise like this to Rustem due ? 
And what, if all thou say'st be true ? 
Are his large limbs of iron made 1 
Will they resist my trenchant blade ? 
His head may now his shoulders grace, 
But will it long retain its place 1 
Let me but meet him in the fight, 
Ai-id thou shalt see Kamiis's might 1 " 

Pirdn's spirits rose at this bold speech, and encouraged by 
its effects, he repaired to the Khakan of Chin, with whom he 
settled the necessary arrangements for commencing battle on 
the following day. Early in the morning the different armies 
under Kamus, the Khakan, and Piran "VVisah, were drawn out, 
and Rustem was also prepared with the troops under his 
command for the impending conflict. He saw that the force 
arrayed against him was prodigious, and most tremendous in 
aspect ; and offering a prayer to the Creator, he plunged into 
the battle. 

'Twas at midday the strife began, 
With steed to steed and man to man ; 
The clouds of dust which rolled on high, 
Threw darkness o'er the earth and sky. 
Each soldier on the other rushed, 
And every blade with crimson blushed , 
And valiant hearts were trod upon, 

Like sand beneath the horse's feet, 
And when the warrior's life was gone, 

His mail became his winding sheet. 


The first leader who advanced conspicuously from among the 
Tartar army was Ushkabus, against whom Rehiim. boldly 
opposed himself ; but after a short conflict, in which he had 
some difficulty in defending his life from the assaults of his 
antagonist, he thought it prudent to retire. When Ushkabiis 
saw this, he turned round with the intention of rejoining his 
own troops ; but Rustem having witnessed the triumph over 
his friend, sallied forth on foot, taking up his bow, and placing 
a few arrows in his girdle, and asked him whither he was 

Astonished, Ushkabiis cried, " Who art thou ? 

What kindred hast thou to lament thy fall ? " 

Rustem replied : " Why madly seek to know 

That which can never yield thee benefit ? 

3Iy name is death to thee, thy hour is come I " 

" Indeed 1 and thou on foot, mid mounted warriors, 

To talk so bravely I " " Yes," the champion said ; 

" And hast thou never heard of men on foot, 

Who conquered horsemen ? I am sent by Tiis, 

To take for him the horse of Ushkabus." 

" What ! and unarmed ?" inquired the Tartar chief ; 

" No 1 " cried the champion, " Mark, my bow and arrow 1 

Mark, too, with what effect they may be used ! " 

So saying, Rustem drew the string, and straight 

The arrow flew, and faithful to its aim, 

Struck dead the foeman's horse. This done, he laughed, 

But Ushkabus was wroth, and showered upon 

His bold antagonist his quivered store 

Then Rustem raised his bow, with eager eye 

Choosing a dart, and placed it on the string, 

A thong of elk-skin ; to his ear he drew 

The feathered notch, and when the point had touched 

The other hand, the bended horn recoiled, 

And twang the arrow sped, piercing the breast 

Of Ushkabus, who fell a lifeless corse, 

As if he never had been born 1 Erect, 

And firm, the champion stood upon the plain, 

Towering like mount Alberz, immoveable, 

The gaze and wonder of the adverse host ! 

When Rustem, still unknown to the Turanian forces, returned 
to his own army, the Tartars carried away the body of Ush- 
kabus, and took it to the Khakan of Chin, who ordered the 
arrow to be drawn out before him ; and when he and Kiiinus 


saw how deeply it had penetrated, and that the feathered end 
was wet with blood, they were amazed at the immense power 
which had driven it from the bow ; they had never witnessed 
or heard of any thing so astonishing. The fight was, in 
consequence, suspended till the following day. The Khakdu 
of Chin then inquired who was disposed or ready to be 
revenged on the enemy for the death of Ushkabiis, when 
Kiimus advanced, and, soliciting permission, urged forward his 
horse to the middle of the plain. He then called aloud for 
Rustem, but a Kabul hero, named Alwund, a pupil of Rustem's 
asked his master's permission to oppose the challenger, which 
being granted, he rushed headlong to the combat. Luckless 
however were his efforts, for he was soon overthrown and slain, 
and then Rustem appeared in arms before the conqueror, who 
hearing his voice, cried : " Why this arrogance and clamour ! 
I am not like Ushkabus, a trembler in thy presence." Rustem 
replied : 

" When the lion sees his prey, 

Sees the elk-deer cross his way, 

Roars he not ? The very ground 

Trembles at the dreadful sound. 

And art thou from terror free, 

When opposed in fight to me ? " 

Karnus now examined him with a stern eye, and was satisfied 
that he had to contend against a powerful warrior : he there- 
fore with the utmost alacrity threw his kamund, which 
Rustem avoided, but it fell over the head of his horse 
Rakush. Anxious to extricate himself from this dilemma, 
Rustem dexterously caught hold of one end of the kamund, 
whilst Kamiis dragged and strained at the other ; and so much 
strength was applied that the line broke in the middle, and 
Kamiis in consequence tumbled backwards to the ground. The 
boaster had almost succeeded in remounting his horse, when 
he was secured round the neck by Rustem's own kamund, and 
conveyed a prisoner to the Persian army, where he was put to 
death ! 

THE SHlH NlMElt. 189 

The fate of Kamiis produced a deep sensation among the 
Turanians, and Piran "YYisah, partaking of the general alarm, 
and thinking it impossible to resist the power of Rustem, 
proposed to retire from the contest, but the Khakan of Chin 
vras of a different opinion, and offered himself to remedy the 
evil which threatened them all. Moreover the warrior, Chin- 
gush, volunteered to fight with "Rustem ; and having obtained 
the Khakan's permission, he took the field, and boldly challenged 
the champion. Rustem received the foe with a smiling counte- 
nance, and the struggle began with arrows. After a smart 
attack on both sides, Chingush thought it prudent to fly from 
the overwhelming force of Rustem, who, however, steadily 
pursued him, and adroitly seizing the horse by the tail, hurled 
him from his saddle. 

He grasped the charger's flowing tail, 
And all were struck with terror pale, 
To sec a sight so strange ; the foe, 
Dismounted by one desperate blow ; 
The captive asked for life in vain, 
His recreant blood bedewed the plain. 
His head was from his shoulders wrung, 
His body to the vultures flung. 

Rustem, after this exploit, invited some other hero to single 
combat ; but at the moment not one replied to his challenge. 
At last Human came forward, not however to fight, but to 
remonstrate, and make an effort to put an end to the war which 
threatened total destruction to his country. "Why such 
bitter enmity ? why such a whirlwind of resentment ? " said 
he ; " to this I ascribe the calamities under which we suffer ; 
but is there no way by which this sanguinary career of ven- 
geance can be checked or moderated ? " Rustem, in answer, 
enumerated the aggressions and the crimes of Afnisiyab, and 
especially dwelt on the atrocious murder of Saiawush, which he 
declared could never be pardoned. Humdn wished to know his 
name ; but Rustem refused to tell him, and requested Piran 
Wisah might be sent to him, to whom he would communicate 


his thoughts, and the secrets of his heart freely. Hiimdn ac- 
cordingly returned, and informed Piran of the champion's 

" This must be Rustem, stronger than the pard, 

The lion, or the Egyptian crocodile, 

Or fell Iblis ; dreams never painted hero 

Half so tremendous on the battle plain." 

The old man said to him ; 

" If this be Rustem, then the time has come, 
Dreaded so long for what but fire and sword, 
Can now await us ? Every town laid waste, 
Soldier and peasant, husband, wife, and child, 
Sharing the miseries of a ravaged land 1 " 

"With tears in his eyes and a heavy heart, Piran repaired to 
the Khakan, who, after some discussion, permitted him in these 
terms to go and confer with Eustem. 

" Depart then speedful on thy embassy, 

And if he seeks for peace, adjust the terms, 

And presents to be sent us. If he talks 

Of war and vengeance, and is clothed in mail, 

No sign of peace, why we must trust in Heaven 

For strength to crush his hopes of victory. 

He is not formed of iron, nor of brass, 

But flesh and blood, with human nerves and hair, 

He does not in the battle tread the clouds, 

Nor can he vanish, like the demon race, 

Then why this sorrow, why these marks of grief ? 

He is not stronger than an elephant ; 

Not he, but I will show him what it is 

To fight or gambol with an elephant ! 

Besides, for every man his army boasts, 

We have three hundred wherefore then be sad ? " 

Notwithstanding these expressions of confidence, Piran's 
heart was full of alarm and terror ; but he hastened to the 
Persian camp, and made himself known to the champion of 
the host, who frankly said, after he had heard Piran's name, 
" I am Rustem of Zabul, armed as thou seest for battle ! " 
Upon which Piran respectfully dismounted, and paid the 
usual homage to his illustrious rank and distinction, 


ftustem said to him, " I bring thee the blessings of Kai-khosniu 
and Ferangis, his mother, who nightly see thy face in their 

(i Blessings from me, upon that royal youth ! " 

Exclaimed the good old man. " Blessings on her, 

The daughter of Afrasiyab, his mother, 

Who saved my life and blessings upon thee, 

Thou matchless hero ! Thou hast come for vengeance, 

In the dear name of gallant Saiawush, 

Of Saiawush, the husband of my child, 

(The beautiful Gulshaher), of him who loved me 

As I had been his father. His brave son, 

Feriid, was slaughtered, and his mother too, 

And Khosrau was his brother, now the king, 

By whom he fell, or if not by his word, 

Whose was the guilty hand ? Has punishment 

Been meted to the offender ? I protected, 

In mine own house, the princess Ferangis ; 

And when her son was born, Kai-khosrau, still 

I, at the risk of my existence, kept them 

Safe from the fury of Afrasiyab, 

Who would have sacrificed the child, or both 1 

And night and day I watched them, till the hour 

When they escaped and crossed the boundary-stream. 

Enough of this ! Now let us speak of peace, 

Since the confederates in this mighty war 

Are guiltless of the blood of Saiawush ! '' 

Ptustem, in answer to Piran, observed, that in negotiating 
the terms of pacification, several important points were to be 
considered, and several indispensable matters to be attended to. 
Xo peace could be made unless the principal actors in the 
bloody tragedy of Saiawush's death were first given up, par- 
ticularly Gersiwaz ; vast sums of money were also required to be 
presented to the king of kings ; and, moreover, Rustem said he 
would disdain making peace at all, but that it enabled Piran 
to do service to Kai-khosrau. Piran saw the difficulty of ac- 
ceding to these demands, but he speedily laid them before the 
Khakan, who consulted his confederates on the subject, and 
after due consideration, their pride and shame resisted the 
overtures, which they thought ignominious. Shinkul, a king 
of Iiid, was a violent opposer of the terms, and declared against 

192 THE SHlH XAMEtt. 

peace on any such conditions. Several other warriors expressed 
their readiness to contend against Rustem, and they flattered 
themselves that by a rapid succession of attacks, one after the 
the other, they would easily overpower him. The Khakan was 
pleased with this conceit and permitted Shinkul to begin the 
struggle. Accordingly he entered the plain, and summoned 
Rustem to renew the fight. The champion came and struck 
him with a spear, which, penetrating his breast, threw him off 
his horse to the ground. The dagger was already raised to 
finish his career, but he sprang on his feet, and quickly ran 
away to tell his misfortune to the Khakan of Chin. 

And thus he cried, in look forlorn, 

" This foe is not of mortal born ; 

A furious elephant in fight, 

A very mountain to the sight ; 

No warrior of the human race, 

That ever wielded spear or mace, 

Alone this dragon could withstand, 

Or live beneath his conquering brand ! " 

The Khakan reminded him how different were his feelings 
and sentiments in the morning, and having asked him what 
he now proposed to do, he said that without a considerable 
force it would be useless to return to the field ; five thousand 
men were therefore assigned to him, and with them he pro- 
ceeded to engage the champion. Rustem had also been joined 
by his valiant companions, and a general battle ensued. The 
heavens were obscured by the dust which ascended from the 
tramp of the horses, and the plain was crimsoned with the 
blood of the slain. In the midst of the contest, Sawa, a relation 
of Kamus, burst forward and sought to be revenged on Rus- 
tem for the fate of his friend. The champion raised his battle- 
axe, and giving Rakush the rein, with one blow of his 
mace removed him to the other world. No sooner had he 
dispatched this assailant than he was attacked by another of the 
kindred of Kiimus, named Kahar, whom he also slew, and 
thus humbled the pride of the Kushanians. Elated with his 


success, aiid having farther displayed his valour among the. 
enemy's troops, he vowed that he would now encounter the 
Khakan himself, and despoil him of all his pomp and treasure. 
For this purpose he selected a thousand horsemen, and thus 
supported, approached the kulubgah, or head-quarters of the 
monarch of Chin. The clamour of the cavalry, and the clash 
of spears and swords, resounded afar. The air became as dark 
as the visage of an Ethiopian, and the field was covered with 
several heads, broken armour, and the bodies of the slain. 
A.midst the conflict Rustem called aloud to the Khakan : 

" Surrender to my arms those elephants, 

That ivory throne, that crown, and chain of gold ; 

Fit trophies for Kai-khosrau, Persia's king ; 

For what hast thou to do with diadem 

And sovereign power ! My noose shall soon secure thee, 

And I will send thee living to his presence ; 

Since, looking on my valour and my strength, 

Life is enough to grant thee. If thou wilt not 

Resign thy crown and throne thy doom is sealed." 

The Khakan, filled with indignation at these haughty words, 
cautioned Rustem to parry off his own danger, and then com- 
manded his troops to assail the enemy with a shower of arrows. 
The attack was so tremendous and terrifying, even beyond the 
picturings of a dream, that Giidarz was alarmed few* the safety 
of Rustem, and sent Reham and G'w to his aid. Rustem said 
to Reham : " I fear that my horse Rakush is becoming 
weary of exertion, in which case what shall I do in this con- 
flict with the enemy ? I must attack on foot the Khakaii of 
Chin, though he has an army here as countless as legions of ants 
or locusts ; but if Heaven continues my friend, I shall stretch 
many of them in the dust, and take many prisoners. The 
captives I will send to Khosniu, and all the spoils of Chin." 
Saying this he pushed forward, roaring like a tiger, towards 
the Khakan, and exclaiming with a stern voice : " The Turks 
are allied to the devil, and the wicked are always unprosperous. 
Thou hast not yet fallen in with Rustem, or thy brain would 


have been bewildered. He is a never-dying dragon, always 
seeking the strongest in battle. But thou hast not yet had 
enough of even me ! " He then drew his kamund from the 
saddle-strap, and praying to God to grant hirn victory over his 
foes, urged on Rakush, and wherever he threw the noose, his 
aim was successful. Great was the slaughter, and the Khakau, 
seeing from the back of his white elephant the extent of his 
loss, and beginning to be apprehensive about his own safety, 
ordered one of his warriors, well acquainted with the language 
of Iran, to solicit from the enemy a cessation of hostilities. 

" Say whence this wrath on us, this keen revenge ? 

We never injured Saiawush ; the kings 

Of Ind and Chin are guiltless of his blood ; 

Then why this wrath on strangers ? Spells and charms, 

Used by Afrasiyab, the cause of all 

Have brought us hither to contend against 

The champion Rustem ; and since peace is better 

Than war and bloodshed, let us part in peace." 

The messenger having delivered his message, Rustem 
replied : 

41 My words are few. Let him give up his crown, 

His golden collar, throne, and elephants ; 

These are the terms I grant. He came for plunder, 

And now he asks for peace. Tell him again, 

Till all his treasure and his crown are mine, 

His throne and elephants, he seeks in vain 

For peace with Eustem, or the Persian king 1 " 

"When the Khakan was informed of these reiterated condi- 
tions, he burst out into bitter reproaches and abuse ; and 
with so loud a voice, that the wind conveyed them distinctly 
to Rustem's ear. The champion immediately prepared for the 
attack ; and approaching the enemy, flung his kamund, by 
which he at once dragged the Khakan from his white elephant. 
The hands of the captured monarch wero straightway bound 
behind his back. Degraded and helpless he stood, and a 
single stroke deprived him of his crown, and throne, and life. 


Such are, since time began, the ways of Heaven ; 
Such the decrees of fate ! Sometimes raised up, 
And sometimes hunted down by enemies, 
Men, struggling, pass through this precarious life, 
Exalted now to sovereign power ; and now 
Steeped in the gulph of poverty and sorrow. 
To one is given the affluence of Karun ; 
Another dies in want. How little know we 
What hue our future fortune may assume ! 
The world is all deceit, deception all ! 

Piraii Wisah beheld the disasters of the day, he saw the 
Khakdn of Chin delivered over to Tiis, his death, and the 
banners of the confederates overthrown ; and sorrowing said : 
" This day is the day of flight, not of victory to us ! This is 
no time for son to protect father, nor father son we must 
fly ! " In the meanwhile Eastern, animated by feelings of a 
very different kind, gave a banquet to his warrior friends, in 
celebration of the triumph. 

When the intelligence of the overthrow and death of Kd-mus 
and the Khakiin of Chin, and the dispersion of their armies, 
reached Afrasiyab, he was overwhelmed with distress and con- 
sternation, and expressed his determination to be revenged on 
the conquerors. Not an Iranian, he said, should remain alive ; 
and the doors of his treasury were thrown open to equip and 
reward the new army, which was to consist of a hundred 
thousand men. 

Rustem having communicated to Kai-khosrau, through 
Friburz, the account of his success, received the most satis- 
factory marks of his sovereign's applause ; but still anxious 
to promote the glory of his country, he engaged in new ex- 
ploits. He went against Kafiir, the king of the city of Bidjld, 
a cannibal, who feasted on human flesh, especially on the young 
women of his country, and those of the greatest beauty, being 
the richest morsels, were first destroyed. He soon overpowered 
and slew the monster, and having given his body to be de- 
voured by dogs, plundered and razed his castle to the ground. 
After this he invaded and ravaged the province of Khoten, 
one of the dependencies of Tiiran, and recently the posses- 

O 2 


sion of Saiiiwush, which was a n.ew affliction to Afrasiyab, who, 
alarmed about his own empire, dispatched a trusty person 
secretly to Rustem's camp, to obtain private intelligence of his 
hostile movements. The answer of the spy added considerably 
to his distress, and in the dilemma he consulted with Piran 
Wisah, that he might have the benefit of the old man's ex- 
perience and wisdom. Pirau told him that he had failed to 
make an impression upon the Persians, even assisted by Kamus 
the Kashanian, and the Khakan of Chin ; both had been slain 
in battle, and therefore it would be in vain to attempt further 
offensive measures without the most powerful aid. There was, he 
added, a neighbouring king, named Piiladwund,who alone seemed 
equal to contend with Eustem. He was of immense stature, 
and of prodigious strength, and might, by the favour of 
heaven, be able to subdue him. Afrasiyab was pleased with 
this information, and immediately invited Piiladwuud, by 
letter, to assist him in exterminating the champion of Persia. 
Piiladwund was proud of the honour conferred upon him, and 
readily complied ; hastening the preparation of his own army 
to co-operate with that of Afrasiyab. He presently joined him, 
and the whole of the combined forces rapidly marched against 
the enemy. The first warrior he encountered was Giw, whom 
he caught with his kamund. Reham and Byzun seeing this, 
instantly rushed forward to extricate their brother and 
champion in arms ; but they too were also secured in the same 
manner ! In the struggle, however, the kamunds gave way, 
and then Piiladwund drew his sword, and by several strokes 
wounded them all. The father, Giidarz, apprised of this 
disaster, which had unfortunately happened to three of his 
sons, applied to Rustem for succour. The champion, the 
refuge, the protector of all, was, as usual, ready to repel the 
enemy. He forthwith advanced, liberated his friends, and 
dreadful was the conflict which followed. The club was used 
with great dexterity on both sides ; but at length Piiladwund 
struck his antagonist such a blow that the sound of it was 
heard by the troops at a distance, and Rustem, stunned by its 


severity, thought himself opposed with so much vigour, that 
he prayed to the Almighty for a prosperous issue to the 

'' Should I be in this struggle slain, 

What stay for Persia will be left ? 
None to defend Kai-khosrau's reign, 

Of me, his warrior-chief, bereft. 
Then village, town, and city gay, 
Will feel the cruel Tartar's swny 1 " 

Piiladwund wishing to follow up the blow by a final stroke 
of his sword, found to his amazement that it recoiled from the 
armour of Kustem, and thence he proposed another mode or 
.fighting, which he hoped would be more successful. He wished 
to try his power in wrestling. The challenge was accepted. 
By agreement both armies retired, and left the space of a 
farsang between them, and no one was allowed to afford assist- 
ance to cither combatant. Afnisiyab was present, and sent 
word to Piiladwund, the moment he got Rustem under him. to 
plunge a sword in his heart. The contest began, but Piilad- 
wund had no opportunity of fulfilling the wishes of Afnisiyab. 
Rustem grasped him with such vigour, lifted him up in his 
arms, and dashed him so furiously on the plain, that the boaster 
seemed to be killed on the spot. Rustem indeed thought he 
had put a period to his life ; and with that impression left him, 
and remounted Rakush : but the crafty Piiladwund only pre- 
tended to be dead ; and as soon as he found himself released, 
sprang up and escaped, flying like an arrow to his own side. 
He then told Afnisiyab how he had saved his life by counter- 

v / 

feiting death, and assured him that it was useless to contend 
against Rustem. The champion having witnessed this subter- 
fuge, turned round in pursuit, and the Tartars received him 
with a shower of arrows ; but the attack was well answered, 
Piiladwund being so alarmed that, without saying a word to 
Afrasiyab, he fled from the field. Pinin now counselled Afni- 
siyab to escape also to the remotest 'part of Tartary. As the 
flight of Piiladwnrid had disheartened the Turanian troops, and 


there was no chance of profiting by further resistance, Afrasiyab 
took his advice, and so precipitate was his retreat, that he en- 
tirely abandoned his standards, tents, horses, arms, and treasure 
to an immense amount. The most valuable booty was sent by 
Rustem to the king of Irdn, and a considerable portion of it 
was divided among the chiefs and the soldiers of the army. 
He then mounted Rakush, and proceeded to the court of Kai- 
khosrau, where he was received with the highest honours and 
with unbounded rejoicings. The king opened his jewel chamber, 
and gave him the richest rubies, and vessels of gold filled with 
musk and aloes, and also splendid garments ; a hundred beau- 
tiful damsels wearing crowns and ear-rings, a hundred horses, 
and a hundred camels. Having thus terminated triumphantly 
the campaign, Rustem carried with him to Ztibul the blessings 
and admiration of his country. 


And now we come to Akwan Di\v, 
Whom Rustem next in combat slu\v. 

One day as Kai-khosr<iu was sitting in his beautiful garden, 
abounding in roses and the balmy luxuriance of spring, sur- 
rounded by his warriors, and enjoying the pleasures of the 
banquet with music and singing, a peasant approached, and 
informed him of a most mysterious apparition. A wild ass, he 
said, had come in from the neighbouring forest ; it had at least 
the external appearance of a wild ass, but possessed such super- 
natural strength, that it had rushed among the horses in the 
royal stables with the ferocity of a lion or a demon, doing ex- 
tensive injury, and in fact appeared to be an evil spirit ! Kai- 
khosrdu felt assured that it was something more than it seemed 


to be, and looked round among his warriors to know what 
should be done. It was soon found that Rustem was the only 
person capable of giving effectual assistance in this emergency, 
and accordingly a message was forwarded to request his ser- 
vices. The champion instantly complied, and it was not long 
before he occupied himself upon the important enterprise. 
Guided by the peasant, he proceeded in the first place towards 
the spot where the mysterious animal had been seen ; but it 
was not till the fourth day of his search that he fell in with 
him, and then, being anxious to secure him alive, and send 
him as a trophy to Kai-khosrau, he threw his kamund ; but it 
was in vain : the wild ass in a moment vanished out of sight ! 
From this circumstance Rustem observed, " This can be no 
other than Akwan Diw, and my weapon must now be either 
dagger or sword." The next time the wild ass appeared he 
pursued him with his drawn sword ; but on lifting it up to 
strike, nothing was to be seen. He tried again, when he came 
near him, both spear and arrow : still the animal vanished, dis- 
appointing his blow ; and thus three days and nights he con- 
tinued fighting, as it were against a shadow. Wearied at length 
with his exertions, he dismounted, and leading Rakush to a 
green spot near a limpid fountain or rivulet of spring water, 
allowed him to graze, and then went to sleep. Akwiin Diw 
seeing from a distance that Rustem had fallen asleep, rushed 
towards him like a whirlwind, and rapidly digging up the 
ground on every side of him, took up the plot of ground and 
the champion together, placed them upon his head, and walked 
away with them. Rustem being awakened with the motion, he 
was thus addressed by the giant-demon : 

Warrior ! now no longer free ! 
Tell me what thy wish may be ; 
Shall I plunge thee in the sea, 

Or leave thee on the mountain drear, 

None to give thee succour, near I 
Tell thy wish to me ! " 

Rustem, thus deplorably in the power of the demon, began 


to consider what was best to be done, and recollecting that it 
was customary with that supernatural race to act by the rule 
of contraries, in opposition to an expressed desire, said in reply, 
for he knew that if he was thrown into the sea there would be 
a good chance of escape : 

" 0, plunge me not in the roaring sea, 
The maw of a fish is no home for me ; 
But cast me forth on the mountain ; there 
Is the lion's haunt and the tiger's lair ; 
And for them I shall be a morsel of food, 
They will eat my flesh and drink my blood ; 
But my bones will be left, to shew the place 
Where this form was devoured by the feline race ; 
Yes, something will then remain of me, 
Whilst nothing escapes from the roaring sea ! " 

Akwan Diw having heard this particular desire of Rustem, 
determined at once to thwart him, and for this purpose he 
raised him up with his hands, and flung him from his lofty 
position headlong into the deep and roaring ocean. Down he 
fell, and a crocodile speedily darted upon him with the eager 
intention of devouring him alive ; but Eustem drew his sword 
with alacrity, and severed the monster's head from his body. 
Another came, and was put to death in the same manner, and 
the water was crimsoned with blood. At last he succeeded in 
swimming safely on shore, and instantly returned thanks to 
Heaven for the signal protection he had experienced. 

Breasting the wave, with fearless skill 

He used his glittering brand ; 
And glorious and triumphant still, 

He quickly reached the strand. 

He then moved towards the fountain Avhere he had left 
Rakush ; but, to his great alarm and vexation his matchless 
horse was not there. He wandered about for some time, and 
in the end found him among a herd of horses belonging to 
Afnlsiyab. Having first caught him, and resumed his seat iu 
the saddle, he resolved upon capturing and driving away the 


whole herd, arid conveying them to Kai-khosniu. He was 
carrying into effect this resolution when the noise awoke the 
keepers specially employed by Afrasiyab, and they, indignant 
at this outrageous proceeding, called together a strong party to 
pursue the aggressor. When they had nearly reached him, he 
turned boldly round, and said aloud : " I am Rustem, the 
descendant of Sam. I have conquered Afrasiyab in battle, and 
after that dost thou presume to oppose me ? " Hearing this, 
the keepers of the Tartar stud instantly turned their backs, and 
ran away. 

It so happened that at this period Afrasiyab paid his annual 
visit to his nursery of horses, and on his coming to the meadows 
in which they were kept, neither horses nor keepers were to be 
seen. In a short time, however, he was informed by those who 
had returned from the pursuit, that Rustem was the person who 
had carried off the herd, and upon hearing of this outrage, he 
proceeded with his troops at once to attack him. Impatient at 
the indignity, he approached Rustem with great fury, but was 
presently compelled to fly to save his life, and thus allow his 
herd of favourite steeds, together with four elephants, to be 
placed in the possession of Kai-khosrau. Rustem then returned 
to the meadows and the fountain near the habitation of Akwtin 
Diw ; and there he again met with the demon, who thus 
accosted him : 

" What 1 art thou then aroused from death's dark sleep ? 
Hast thou escaped the monsters of the deep 1 
And dost thou seek upon the dusty plain 
To struggle with a demon's power again ? 
Of flint, or brass, or iron is thy form ? 
Or canst thou, like the demons, raise the dreadful battle 
storm ? " 

Rustem, hearing this taunt from the tongue of Akwau Diw, 
prepared for fight, and threw his kamuud with such precision 
and force, that the demon was entangled in it, and then he 
struck him such a mighty blow with his sword, that it severed 
the head from the body. The severed head of the unclean 


monster he transmitted as a trophy to Kai-khosrau, by whom 
it was regarded with amazement, on account of its hideous 
expression and its vast size. After this extraordinary feat, 
Rustem paid his respects to the king, and was received as usual 
with distinguished honour and affection ; and having enjoyed 
the magnificent hospitality of the court for some time, he re- 
turned to Zabulistdn, accompanied part of the way by Kai- 
khosrdu himself and a crowd of valiant warriors, ever anxious 
to acknowledge his superior worth and prodigious strength. 


One day the people of Armdn petitioned Kai-khosrau to 
remove from them a grievous calamity. The country they 
inhabited was overrun with herds of wild boars, which not 
only destroyed the produce of their fields, but the fruit and 
flowers in their orchards and gardens, and so extreme was the 
ferocity of the animals that it was dangerous to go abroad ; 
they therefore solicited protection from this disastrous visita- 
tion, and hoped for relief. The king was at the time enjoying 
himself amidst his warriors at a banquet, drinking wine, and 
listening to music and the songs of bewitching damsels. 

The glance of beauty, and the charm 
OJ! heavenly sounds, so soft and thrilling, 

And ruby wine, must ever warm 
The heart, with love and rapture filling. 

Can aught more sweet, more genial prove, 

Than melting music, wine, and love 1 

The moment he was made acquainted with the grievances 
endured by the Armenians, he referred the matter to the 
consideration of his counsellors and nobles, in order that a 


remedy might be immediately applied. Byzun, when he heard 
what was required, and had learned the disposition of the 
king, rose up at onee with all the enthusiasm of youth, and 
offered to undertake the extermination of the wild boars himself. 
But Giw objected to so great a hazard, for he was too young, 
he said ; a hero of greater experience being necessary for such 
an arduous enterprise. Byzun, however, was not to be rejected 
on this account, and observed, that though young, he was 
mature in judgment and discretion, and he relied on the liberal 
decision of the king, who at length permitted him to go, but 
he was to be accompanied by the veteran warrior Girgin. 
Accordingly Byzun and Girgin set off on the perilous expe- 
dition ; and after a journey of several days arrived at the place 
situated between Iran and Tiinln, where the wild boars were 
the most destructive. In a short time a great number were 
hunted down and killed, and Byzun, utterly to destroy the 
sustenance of the depredators, set fire to the forest, and reduced 
the whole of the cultivation to ashes. His exertions were, in 
short, entirely successful, and the country was thus freed from 
the visitation which had occasioned so much distress and ruin. 
To give incontestable proof of this exploit, he cut off the heads 
of all the wild boars, and took out the tusks, to send to Kai- 
khosniu. When Girgin had witnessed the intrepidity and 
boldness of Byzun, and found him determined to send the 
evidence of his bravery to Kai-khosrau, he became envious of 
the youth's success, and anticipated by comparison the ruin of 
his own name and the gratification of his foes. He therefore 
attempted to dissuade him from sending the trophies to the 
king, and having failed, he resolved upon getting him out of 
the way. To effect this purpose he worked upon the feelings 
and the passions of Byzun with consummate art, and whilst 
his victim was warm with wine, praised him beyond all the 
warriors of the age. He then told him he had heard that at no 
great distance from them there was a beautiful place, a garden 
of perpetual spring, which was visited every vernal season by 
Manijeh, the lovely daughter of Afrasiyab. 


" It is a spot beyond imagination 

Delightful to the heart, where roses bloom, 

And sparkling fountains murmur where the earth 

Is rich with many-coloured flowers ; and musk 

Floats on the gentle breezes, hyacinths 

And lilies add their perfume golden fruit 

Weigh down the branches of the lofty trees, 

The glittering pheasant moves in stately pomp, 

The bulbul warbles from the cypress bough, 

And love-inspiring damsels may be seen 

O'er hill and dale, their lips all winning smiles, 

Their cheeks like roses in their sleepy eyes 

Delicious languor dwelling. Over them 

Presides the daughter of Af rasiyab, 

The beautiful Manijeh ; should we go, 

('Tis but a little distance), and encamp 

Among the lovely groups in that retre;vt 

Which blooms like Paradise we may secure 

A bevy of fair virgins for the king ! " 

Byzun was excited by this description ; and impatient to 
realize what it promised, repaired without delay, accompanied 
by Girgin, to the romantic retirement of the princess. They 
approached so close to the summer-tent in which she dwelt that 
she had a full view of Byzun, and immediately becoming deeply 
enamoured of his person, dispatched a confidential domestic, 
her nurse, to inquire who he was, and from whence he came. 

" Go, and beneath that cypress tree, 
Where now he sits so gracefully, 
Ask him his name, that radiant moon, 
And he may grant another boon 1 
Perchance he may to me impart 
The secret wishes of his heart ! 
Tell him he must, and further say, 
That I have lived here many a day ; 
That every year, whilst spring discloses 
The fragrant breath of budding roses, 
I pass my time in rural pleasure ; 
But never never such a treasure, 
A mortal of such perfect mould, 
Did these admiring eyes behold 1 
Never, since it has been my lot 
To dwell in this sequestered spot. 
A youth by nature so designed 
To soothe a love-lorn damsel's mind I 
His wondrous looks my bosom thrill 
Can Saiawush be living still I " 


The nurse communicated faithfully the message of Manijch, 
and Byzun's countenance glowed with delight when he heard it. 
" Tell thy fair mistress," he said in reply, " that I am not 
Saiawush, but the son of Giw. I came from Iran, with the 
express permission of the king, to exterminate a terrible and 
destructive herd of wild boars in this neighbourhood ; and I 
have cut off their heads, and torn out their tusks to be sent to 
Kai-khosrau, that the king and his warriors may fully appreciate 
the exploit I have performed. But having heard afterwards 
of thy mistress's beauty and attractions, home and my father 
were forgotten, and I have preferred following my own desires 
by coming hither. If thou wilt therefore forward my views ; 
if thou wilt become my friend by introducing me to thy 
mistress, who is possessed of such matchless charms, these 
precious gems are thine and this coronet of gold. Perhaps the 
daughter of Afnisiyab may be induced to listen to my suit." 
The nurse was not long in making known the sentiments of 
the stranger, and Manijeh was equally prompt in expressing 
her consent. The message was full of ardour and affection. 

" gallant youth, no farther roam, 
This summer-tent shall be thy home ; 
Then will the clouds of grief depart 
From this enamoured, anxious heart. 
For thee I live thou art the light 
Which makes my future fortune bright. 
Should arrows pour like showers of rain 
Upon my head 'twould be in vain ; 
Nothing can ever injure me, 
Blessed with thy love possessed of thee ! " 

Byzun therefore proceeded unobserved to the tent of the 
princess, who on meeting and receiving him, pressed him to her 
bosom ; and taking off his Kaiani girdle, that he might be 
more at his ease, asked him to sit down and relate the particulars 
of his enterprise among the wild boars of the forest. Having 
done so, he added that he had left Girgin behind him. 

" Enraptured, and impatient to survey 

Thy charms, I brook'd no pause upon the way." 


Ho was immediately perfumed with musk and rose-water, 
and refreshments of every kind were set before him ; musicians 
played their sweotcst airs, and dark-eyed damsels waited upon 
him. The walls of the tent were gorgeously adorned with 
amber, and gold, and rubies ; and the sparkling old wine was 
drank out of crystal goblets. The feast of joy lasted three 
nights and three days, Byzun and Manijeh enjoying the 
precious moments with unspeakable rapture. Overcome with 
wine and the felicity of the scene, he at length sunk into 
repose, and on the fourth day came the time of departure ; but 
the princess, unable to relinquish the society of her lover, 
ordered a narcotic draught to be administered to him, and 
whilst he continued in a state of slumber and insensibility, he 
was conveyed secretly and in disguise into Tiiran, He was 
taken even to the palace of Afrasiyab, unknown to all but to 
the emissaries and domestics of the princess, and there he 
awoke from the trance into which he had been thrown, and 
found himself clasped in the arms of his idol. Considering, on 
coming to his senses, that he had been betrayed by some 
witchery, he made an attempt to get out of the seclusion : 
above all, he was apprehensive of a fatal termination to the 
adventure ; but Manljeh's blandishments induced him to remain, 
and for some time he was contented to be immersed in con- 
tinual enjoyment, such pleasure as arises from the social 
banquet and the attractions of a fascinating woman. 

" Grieve not my love be not so sad, 
'Tis now the season to be glad ; 
There is a time for war and strife, 
A time to soothe the ills of life. 
Drink of the cup which yields delight, 
The ruby glitters in thy sight ; 
Steep not thy heart in fruitless care, 
But in the -wine-flask sparkling there." 

At length, however, the love of the princess for a Persian- 
youth was discovered, and the keepers and guards of the palace 
wore in the greatest terror, expecting the most signal punish- 


ment for their neglect or treachery. Dreadful indeed was the 
rage of the king when he was first told the tidings ; he 
trembled like a reed in the wind, and the colour fled from his 
checks. Groaning, he exclaimed : 

" A daughter, even from a royal stock, 
Is ever a misfortune hast thou one ? 
The grave will be thy fittest son-in-law 1 
Rejoice not in the wisdom of a daughter ; 
Who ever finds a daughter good and virtuous ? 
Who ever looks on woman-kind for aught 
Save wickedness and folly 1 Hence how fow 
Ever enjoy the bliss of Paradise : 
Such the sad destiny of erring woman ! " 

Afrisiyab consulted the nobles of his household upon the 
measures to be pursued on this occasion, and Gersiwaz was in 
consequence deputed to secure Byzun, and put him to death. 
The guilty retreat was first surrounded by troops, and then 
Gersiwaz entered the private apartments, and with surprise and 
indignation saw Byzuii in all his glory, Manijeh at his side, 
his lips stained with wine, his face full of mirth and gladness, 
and encircled by the damsels of the shubistdn. He accosted 
him in severe terms, and was promptly answered by Byzun, 
who, drawing his sword, gave his name and family, and declared 
that if any violence or insult was offered, he would slay 
every man that came before him with hostile intentions. 
Gersiwaz, on hearing this, thought it prudent to change his 
plan, and conduct him to Afrisiyzib, and he was permitted to 
do so on the promise of pardon for the alleged offence. When 
brought before Afrasiyab, he was assailed with further oppro- 
brium, and called a dog and a wicked remorseless demon. 

" Thou caitiff wretch, of monstrous birth, 
Allied to hell, and not of earth ! " 

But he thus answered the king : 

" Listen awhile, if justice be thy aim, 

And thou wilt find me guiltless. I was sent 


From Persia to destroy herds of wild boars, 

Which laid the country waste. That labour done, 

I lost my way. and weary with the toil, 

Weary with wandering in a wildering maze, 

Haply reposed beneath a shady cypress ; 

Thither a Peri came, and whilst I slept, 

Lifted me from the ground, and quick as thought 

Conveyed me to a summer-tent, where dwelt 

A princess of incomparable beauty. 

From thence, by hands unknown, I was removed, 

Still slumbering in a litter still unconscious ; 

And when I woke, I found myself reclining 

In a retired pavilion of thy palace, 

Attended by that soul-entrancing beauty ! 

My heart was filled with sorrow, and I shed 

Showers of vain tears, and desolate I sate, 

Thinking of Persia, with no power to fly 

From my imprisonment, though soft and kind, 

Being the victim of a sorcerer's art. 

Yes, I am guiltless, and Manijeh too, 

Both by some magic influence pursued, 

And led away against our will or choice 1 " 

Afrasiyiib listened to this speech with distrust, and hesitated 
not to charge him with falsehood and cowardice. Byzun's 
indignation was roused by this insulting accusation; and he 
said to him aloud, " Cowardice, what ! cowardice ! I have 
encountered the tusks of the formidable wild boar and the 
claws of the raging lion. I have met the bravest in battle with 
sword and arrow ; and if it be thy desire to witness the 
streugth of my arm, give me but a horse and a battle-axe, and 
marshal twice five hundred Turanians against me, and not 
a man of them shall survive the contest. If this be not thy 
pleasure, do thy worst, but remember my blood will be avenged. 
Thou knowest the power of Rustem ! " The mention of 
Rustem's name renewed all. the deep feelings of resentment 
and animosity in the mind of Afnisiyab, who, resolved upon 
the immediate execution of his purpose, commanded Gersiwaz 
to bind the youth, and put an end to his life on the gallows 
tree. The good old man Pirtin Wisah happened to be passing 
by the place to which Byzun had just been conveyed to suffer 
death ; and seeing a great concourse of people, and a lofty 


dar erected, from which hung a noose, he inquired for whom 
it was intended. Gersiwaz heard the question, and replied 
that it was for a Persian, an enemy of Tiiriin, a son of Giw, 
and related to Rustem. Piriln straightway rode up to the 
youth, who was standing in deep affliction, almost naked, 
and with his hands bound behind his back, and he said to 
him : 

" Why didst thou quit thy country, why come hither, 
Why choose the road to an untimely grave ? " 

Upon this Byzun told him his whole story, and the treachery 
of Girgin. Pirdn wept at the recital, and remembering the 
circumstances under which he had encountered Giw, and how 
he had been himself delivered from death by the interposition 
of Ferangis, he requested the execution to be stayed until he 
had seen the king, which was accordingly done. The king 
received him with honour, praised his wisdom and prudence, 
and conjecturing from his manner that something was heavy 
at his heart, expressed his readiness to grant any favour which 
he might have come to solicit. Pir&n said : "Then, my only 
desire is this : do not put Byzun to death ; do not repeat 
the tragedy of Saiawush, and again consign Tiiran and Iran 
to all the horrors of war and desolation. Remember how I 
warned thee against taking the life of that young prince ; but 
malignant and evil advisers exerted their influence, were 
triumphant, and brought upon thee and thy kingdom the 
vengeance of Kaus, of Rustem, and all the warriors of the 
Persian empire. The swords now sleeping in their scabbards 
are ready to flash forth again, for assuredly if the blood of 
Byzun be spilt the land will be depopulated by fire and sword. 
The honour of a king is sacred ; when that is lost, all is lost." 
But Afrasiyab replied : " I fear not the thousands that can be 
brought against me. Byzun has committed an offence which 
can never be pardoned ; it covers me with shame, and I shall 
be universally despised if I suffer him to live. Death were 
better for me than life in disgrace. He must die." " That is 



not necessary," rejoined Pirau, " let him be imprisoned in a 
deep cavern ; he will never be heard of more, and then thou 
canst not be accused of having shed his blood." After some 
deliberation, Afrasiytlb altered his determination, and com- 
manded Gersiwaz to bind the yonth with chains from head to 
foot, and hang him within a deep pit with his head downwards, 
that he might never see sun or moon again ; and he sentenced 
Manijeh to share the same fate : and to make their death more 
sure, he ordered the enormous fragment of rock which Akwan 
Diw had dragged out of the ocean and flung upon the plain of 
Tartary, to be placed over the mouth of the pit. In respect to 
Byzun, Cfersiwaz did as he was commanded ; but the lamenta- 
tions in the shubistiiu were so loud and distressing upon 
Mauijeh being sentenced to the same punishment, that the 
tyrant was induced to change her doom, allowing her to dwell 
near the pit, but forbidding, by proclamation, any one going to 
her or supplying her with food. Gersiwaz conducted her to the 
place ; and stripping her of her rich garments and jewels, left 
her bare-headed and bare-footed, weeping torrents of tears. 

He left her the unhappy maid ; 
Her head upon the earth was laid, 
In bitterness of grief, and lone, 
Beside that dreadful demon-stone. 

There happened, however, to be a fissure in the huge rock 
that covered the mouth of the pit, which allowed of Byzun's 
voice being heard, and bread and water was let down to him, 
so that they had the melancholy satisfaction of hearing each 
other's woes. 

The story now relates to Girgin, who finding after several 
days that Byzun had not returned, began to repent of his 
treachery ; but what is the advantage of such repentance ? it 
is like the smoke that rises from a conflagration. 

When flames have done their worst, thick clouds arise 
Of lurid smoke, which useless mount the skies. 


He sought everywhere for him ; went to the romantic retreat 
where the daughter of Afrasiyab resided ; but the place was 
deserted, nothing was to be seen, and nothing to be heard. At 
length he saw Byzun's horse astray, and securing him with his 
kamund, thought it useless to remain in Tiiran, and therefore 
proceeded in sorrow back to Iran. Giw, finding that his son 
had not returned with him from Arman, was frantic with 
grief ; he tore his garments and his hair, and threw ashes over 
his head ; and seeing the horse which his son had rode, caressed 
it in the fondest manner, demanding from Girgin a full account 
of what he knew of his fate. " Heaven forbid," said he, 
" that my son should have fallen into the power of the merci- 
less demons ! " Girgin could not safely confess the truth, and 
therefore told a falsehood, in the hope of escaping from the 
consequences of his own guilt. " When we arrived at Arman," 
said he, " we entered a large forest, and cutting down the trees, 
set them on tire. We then attacked the wild boars, which were 
found in vast numbers ; and as soon as they were all destroyed, 
left the' place on our return. Sporting all the way, we fell in 
with an elk, of a most beautiful and wonderful form. It was 
like the Simiirgh ; it had hoofs of steel, and the head and ears 
and tail of a horse. It was strong as a lion and fleet as the 
wind, and came fiercely before us, yet seemed to be a thing of 
air. Byzun threw his kamund over him ; and when entangled 
in the noose, the animal became furious and sprung away, 
dragging Byzun after him. Presently the prospect was enve- 
loped in smoke, the earth looked like the ocean, and Byzun and 
the phantom-elk disappeared. I wandered about in search of 
my companion, but found him not : his horse only remained. 
My heart was rent with anguish, for it seemed to me that the 
furious elk must have been the White Demon." But Giw was 
not to be deceived by this fabricated tale : on the contrary, he 
felt convinced that treachery had been at work, and in his rage 
seized Girgin by the beard, dragged him to and fro, and inflicted 
on him two hundred strokes with a scourge. The unhappy 
wretch, from the wounds he had received, fell senseless on the 

P 2 


ground. Giw then hastened to Kai-khosrau to inform him of 
his misfortune ; and though the first resolve was to put the 
traitor to death, the king was contented to load him with, 
chains and cast him into prison. The astrologers being now 
consulted, pronounced that Byzun was still living, and Giw was 
consoled and cheered by the promptitude with which the king 
dispatched troops in every quarter in search of his son. 

" Weep no longer, warrior bold, 
Thou shalt soon thy son behold. 
In this Cup, this mirror bright. 
All that's dark is brought to light ; 
All above and under ground, 
All that's lost is quickly found." 
Thus spake the monarch, and held up 
Before his view that wondrous Cup 
Which first to Jemshid's eye revealed 
All that was in the world concealed. 
And first before him lay exposed 
All that the seven climes enclosed, 
Whether in ocean or amid 
The stars the secret things were hid, 
Whether in rock or cavern placed. 
In that bright Cup were clearly traced. 
And now his eye Karugsar surveys, 
The Cup the province wide displays. 
He sees within that dismal cave 
Byzun the good, the bold, the brave ; 
And sitting on that demon-stone 
Lovely Manljeh sad and lone. 
And now he smiles and looks on Giw, 
And cries : " My prophecy was true. 
Thy Byzun lives ; no longer grieve, 
I see him there, my words believe ; 
And though bound fast in fetters, he 
Shall soon regain his liberty." 

Kai-khosrau, thinking the services of Rustem requisite on 
this occasion, dispatched Giw with an invitation to him, ex- 
plaining the circumstance of Byzun's capture. Rustem had 
made up his mind to continue in peace and tranquillity at his 
Zabul principality, and not to be withdrawn again from its 
comforts by any emergency ; but the reported situation of his 
near relative altered his purpose, and he hesitated not to give 
his best aid to restore him to freedom. Giw rejoiced at this, 


and both repaired without delay to the royal residence, where 
Khosra'u gratified the champion with the most cordial welcome, 
placing him on a throne before him. The king asked him what 
force he would require, and he replied that he did not require 
any army ; he preferred going in disguise as a merchant. Ac- 
cordingly the necessary materials were prepared ; a thousand 
camels were laden with jewels and brocades, and other mer- 
chandise, and a thousand warriors were habited like camel- 
drivers. Girgin had prayed to be released from his bonds, and 
by the intercession of Rustem was allowed to be of the party ; 
but his children were kept in prison as hostages and security 
for his honourable conduct. When the champion, with his 
kafila, arrived within the territory of the enemy, and approached 
the spot where Byzun was imprisoned, a loud clamour arose 
that a caravan of merchandise had come from Ira"n, such as was 
never seen before. The tidings having reached the ear of 
Manijeh, she went immediately to Rustem, and inquired 
whether the imprisonment of Byzun was yet known at the 
Persian court ? Rustem replied in anger : " I am a merchant 
employed in traffic, what can I know of such things ? Go 
away, I have no acquaintance with either the king or his 
warriors." This answer overwhelmed Manijeh with disap- 
pointment and grief, and she wept bitterly. Her tears began 
to soften the heart of Rustem, and he said to her in a soothing 
voice : " I am not an inhabitant of the city in which the 
court is held, and on that account 1 know nothing of these 
matters ; but tell me the cause of thy grief." Manijeh sighed 
deeply, and endeavoured to avoid giving him any reply, which 
increased the curiosity of the champion ; but she at length 
complied. She told him who she was, the daughter of Afra- 
siyab, the story of her love, and the misfortunes of Byzun, and 
pointed out to him the pit in which he was imprisoned and 
bound down with heavy chains. 

" For the sake of him has been my fall 
From royal state, and bower, and hall, 


And hence this pale and haggard face, 
This saffron hue thy eye may trace, 
Where bud of rose was wont to bloom, 

But withered now and gone ; 
And I must sit in sorrow's gloom 

TJnsuccoured and alone." 

Rustem asked with deep interest if any food could be con- 
veyed to him, and she said that she had been accustomed to 
supply him with bread and water through a fissure in the huge 
stone which covered the mouth of the pit. Upon receiving 
this welcome information, Rustem brought a roasted fowl, and 
inclosing in it his own seal-ring, gave it to Manijeh to take to 
Byzun. The poor captive, on receiving it, inquired by whom 
such a blessing could have been sent, and when she informed 
him that it had been given to her by the chief of a caravan 
from Iran, who had manifested great anxiety about him, his 
smiles spoke the joyous feelings of his heart, for the name of 
Rustem was engraved on the ring. Manijeh was surprised to 
see him smile, considering his melancholy situation, and could 
not imagine the cause. " If thou wilt keep my secret," said 
he, I will tell the cause." " What ! " she replied, " have I 
not devoted my heart and soul to thee ? have I not sacrificed 
everything for thy love, and is my fidelity now to be suspected ? 

" Can I be faithless, then, to thee, 
The choice of this fond heart of mine ; 

Why sought I bonds, when I was free. 
But to be thine for ever thine ? " 

"True, true! then hear me: the chief of the caravan is 
Rustem, who has undoubtedly come to release me from this 
dreadful pit. Go to him, and concert with him the manner in 
which my deliverance may be soonest effected." Manijeh ac- 
cordingly went and communicated with the champion ; and it 
ivas agreed between them that she should light a large fire to 
guide him on his way. He was prompt as well as valiant, and 
repaired in the middle of the following night, accompanied by 
seven of his warriors, directed by the blaze, to the place where 


Byzun was confined. The neighbourhood was infested by 
demons with long nails, and long hair on their bodies like the 
hair of a goat, and horny feet, and with heads like dogs, and 
the chief of them was the son of Akwan Diw. The father 
having been slain by Eastern, the son nourished the hope of 
revenge, and perpetually longed for an opportunity of meeting 
him in battle. Well knowing that the champion was engaged 
in the enterprise to liberate Byzun, he commanded his demons 
to give him intelligence of his approach. His height was 
tremendous, his face was black, his mouth yawned like a 
cavern, his eyes were fountains of blood, his teeth like those 
of a wild boar, and the hair on his body like needles. The 
monster advanced, and reproaching Rustem disdainfully for 
having slain Akwan Di\v, and many other warriors in the 
Turanian interest, pulled up a tree by the roots and challenged 
him to combat. The straggle began, but the Demon frequently 
escaped the fury of the champion by vanishing into air. At 
length Rustem struck a fortunate blow, which cut the body of 
his towering adversary in two. His path being now free from 
interruption, he sped onward, and presently beheld the pro- 
digious demon-stone which covered the mouth of the pit, in 
which Byzuu was imprisoned. 

And praying to the Almighty to infuse 
Strength through his limbs, he raised it up, and tlung 
The ponderous mass of rock upon the plain, 
Which shuddered to receive that magic load ! 

The mouth of the cavern being thus exposed, Rustem applied 
himself to the extrication of Byzun from his miserable condi- 
tion, and letting down his kamund, he had soon the pleasure of 
drawing up the unfortunate captive, whom he embraced with 
great affection ; and instantly stripped off the chains with 
which he was bound. After mutual congratulations had been 
exchanged, Rustem proposed that Byzun and Manijeh should 
go immediately to Iran, whilst he and his companions in arms 
attacked the palace of Afnisiyab ; but though wasted as he was 


by long suffering, Byzun could not on any consideration consent 
to avoid the perils of the intended assault, and determined, at 
all hazards, to accompany his deliverer. 

" Full well I know thy super-human power 
Needs no assistance from an arm like mine ; 
But grateful as I am for this great service, 
I cannot leave thee now, and shrink from peril, 
That would be baseness which I could not bear." 

It was on the same night that Rustem and Byzun, and seven 
of his warriors, proceeded against that part of the palace in 
which the tyrant slept. He first put to death the watchman, 
and also killed a great number of the guard, and a loud voice 
presently resounded in the chamber of the king : " Awake 
from thy slumbers, Afrasiyab, Byzun has been freed from his 
chains." Rustem now entered the royal palace, and openly 
declaring his name, exclaimed : " I am come, Afrasiyab, to 
destroy thee, and By/,"D is also here to do thee service for thy 
cruelty to him." The death-note awoke the trembling Afra- 
siyab, and he rose up, and fled in dismay. Rustem and his 
companions rushed into the inner apartments, and captured all 
the blooming damsels of the shubistan, and all the jewels and 
golden ornaments which fell in their way. The moon-faced 
beauties were sent to Zabul ; but the jewels and other valuable 
property were reserved for the king. 

In the morning Afrasiyab hastily collected together his troops 
and marched against Rustem, who, with Byzun and his thousand 
warriors, met him on the plain prepared for battle. The cham- 
pion challenged any one who would come forward to single 
combat ; but though frequently repeated, no attention was paid 
to the call. At length Rustem said to Afhlsiyab : " Art thou 
not ashamed to avoid a contest with so inferior a force, a hun- 
dred thousand against one thousand ? "We two, and our armies, 
have often met, and dost thou now shrink from the fight ? " 
The reproach had its effect, 

For the tyrant at once, ar,d his heroes, began 
Their attack like the deni r. e of Mazinderan. 


But the valour and the bravery of Rustem were so eminently 
shewn, that he overthrew thousands of the enemy. 

In the tempest of battle, disdaining all fear, 
With his kamund, and khanjer, his garz, and shamshir. 
How he bound, stabbed, and crushed, and dissevered the foe, 
So mighty his arm, and so fatal his blow.* 

And so dreadful was the carnage, that Afrtisiya'b, unable to 
resist his victorious career, was compelled to seek safety in 

The field was red with blood, the Tartar banners 
Cast on the ground, and when, with grief, he saw 
The face of Fortune turned, his cohorts slain, 
He hurried back, and sought Turan again. 

Rustem having obtained another triumph, returned to Iriu 
with the spoils of his conquest, and was again honoured with 
the smiles and rewards of his sovereign. Manijeh was not for- 
gotten ; she, too, received a present worthy of the virtue and 
fidelity she had displayed, and of the magnanimity of her spirit 
and the happy conclusion of the enterprise was celebrated with 
festivity and rejoicing. 


Afrasiydb after his defeat pursued his way in despair towards 
Chin and Ma-chin, and on the road happened to fall in with a 
man of huge and terrific stature. Amazed at the sight of so 

* This is a favourite passage in the original. My old Munshi used to be 
delighted with it, thinking the description and effects of each weapon so truly 
admirable ; the entangling of the noose, the stabbing of the dagger, the crush- 
ing of the mace, and the cutting of the sword being brought together within 
so small a compass. 


extraordinary a being, be asked him who and what he was." 
" I am a villager," replied the stranger. "And thy father ? '' 
" I do not know my father. My mother has never mentioned 
his name, and my birth is wrapped in mystery." Afrasiyab 
then addressed him as follows : " It is my misfortune to have 
a bitter and invincible enemy, who has plunged me into the 
greatest distress. If he could be subdued, there would be no 
impediment to my conquest of Iran ; and I feel assured that 
thou, apparently endued with such prodigious strength, hast 
the power to master him. His name is Eustem." " What ! " 
rejoined Barzii, "is all this concern and affliction about one 
man about one man only ? " " Yes," answered Afrdsiyab ; 
;< but that one man is equal to a hundred strong men. Upon 
him neither sword, nor mace, nor javelin has any effect. In 
battle he is like a mountain of steel." At this Barzii exclaimed 
in gamesome mood : " A mountain of steel ! I can reduce to 
dust a hundred mountains of steel ! What is a mountain of 
steel to me ! " Afrasiyab rejoiced to find such confidence in 
the stranger, and instantly promised him his own daughter in 
marriage, and the monarchy of Chin and Ma-chin, if he suc- 
ceeded in destroying Eustem. Barzii replied : 

" Thou art but a coward slave, 
Thus a stranger's aid to crave. 
And thy soldiers, what are they ? 
Heartless on the battle-day. 
Thou, the prince of such a host ! 
What, alas ! hast thou to boast ? 
Art thou not ashamed to wear 
The regal crown that glitters there .' 
And dost thou not disgrace the throne 
Thus to be awed, and crushed by one ; 
By one, whate'er his name or might. 
Thus to be put to shameful flight ! '' 

Afrasiyab felt keenly the reproaches which he heard ; but, 
nevertheless, solicited the assistance of Barzii, who declared 
that he would soon overpower Eustem, and place the empire of 
Iran under the dominion of the Tartar king. He would, he 
said, overflow the land of Persia with blood, and take possession 


of the throne ! The despot was intoxicated with delight, and 
expecting his most sanguine wishes would be realised, made him 
the costliest presents, consisting of gold and jewels, and horses, 
and elephants, so that the besotted stranger thought himself 
the greatest personage in all the world. But his mother, when 
she heard these things, implored him to be cautious : 

" My H.A, these presents, though so rich and rare, 
Will be thy winding-sheet ; beware, beware ! 
They'll drive to madness thy poor giddy brain, 
And thou wilt never be restored again. 
Never ; for wert thou bravest of the brave, 
They only lead to an untimely grave. 
Then give them back, nor such a doom provoke, 
Beware of Rustem's host-destroying stroke. 
Has he not conquered demons ! and, alone, 
Afrdsiyab's best warriors overthrown I 
And canst thou equal them ? Alas 1 the day 
That thy sweet life should thus be thrown away." 

Barzii, however, was too much dazzled by the presents he had 
received, and too vain of his own personal strength to attend to 
his mother's advice. " Certainly," said he, " the disposal of 
our lives is in the hands of the Almighty, and as certain it is 
that my strength is superior to that of Rustem. Would it not 
then be cowardly to decline the contest with him ? " The 
mother still continued to dissuade him from the enterprise, and 
assured him that Rustem was above all mankind distinguished 
for the art, and skill, and dexterity with which he attacked his 
enemy, and defended himself ; and that there was no chance of 
his being overcome by a man entirely ignorant of the science 
of fighting ; but Barzii remained unmoved : yet he told the 
king what his mother had said ; and Afrasiytib, in consequence, 
deemed it proper to appoint two celebrated masters to instruct 
him in the use of the bow, the sword, and the javelin, and also 
in wrestling and throwing the noose. Every day, clothed in 
armour, he tried his skill and strength with the warriors, and 
after ten days he was sufficiently accomplished to overthrow 
eighteen of them at one time. Proud of the progress he had 
made, he told the king that he would seize and bind eighteen 


of his stoutest and most experienced teachers, and bring them 
before him, if he wished, when all the assembly exclaimed : 
" No doubt he is fully equal to the task ; 

He does not seem of human birth, but wears 
The aspect of the Evil One ; and looks 
Like Alberz mountain, clad in folds of mail ; 
Unwearied in the fight he conquers all." 

Afr&iya'b's satisfaction was increased by this testimony to 
the merit of Barzii, and he heaped upon him further tokens of 
his good-will and munificence. The vain, newly-made warrior 
was all exultation and delight, and said impatiently : 

" Delays are ever dangerous let us meet 

The foe betimes, this Rust em and the king, 

Kai-khosrau. If we linger in a cause 

Demanding instant action, prompt appliance, 

And rapid execution, we are lost. 

Advance, and I will soon lop off the heads 

Of this belauded champion and his king, 

And cast them, with the Persian crown and throne 

Trophies of glory, at thy royal feet ; 

So that Turan alone shall rule the world." 

Speedily ten thousand experienced horsemen were selected 
and placed under the command of Barzii ; and Humjin and 
Barman were appointed to accompany him ; Afrjisiya'b himself 
intending to follow with the reserve. 

When the intelligence of this new expedition reached the 
court of Kai-khosra"u, he was astonished, and could not conceive 
how, after so signal a defeat and overthrow, Afrasiyab had the 
means of collecting another army, and boldly invading his 
kingdom. To oppose this invasion, however, he ordered Tiis 
and Friburz, with twelve thousand horsemen, and marched 
after them himself with a large army. As soon as Tiis fell in 
with the enemy the battle commenced, and lasted, with great 
carnage, a whole day and night, and in the end Barzii was 
victorious. The warriors of the Persian force fled, and left Tiis 
and Friburz alone on the field, where they were encountered by 


the conqueror, taken prisoners, and bound, and placed in the 
charge of Human. The tidings of the result of this conflict 
were received with as much rejoicing by Afrtisiytib, as with 
sorrow and consternation by Kai-khosrau. And now the 
emergency, on the Persian side, demanded the assistance of 
Rustem, whose indignation was roused, and who determined on 
revenge for the insult that had been given. He took with him 
Gustahem, the brother of Tiis, and- at midnight thought he had 
come to the tent of Barzii, but it proved to be the pavilion of 
Afrtisiyab, who was seen seated on his throne, with Barzii on 
his right hand, and Piran-Wisah on his left, and Tiis and 
Friburz standing in chains before them. The king said to the 
captive warriors : " To-morrow you shall both be put to death 
in the manner I slew Saitiwush." He then retired. Meanwhile 
Rustem returned thanks to Heaven that his friends were still 
alive, and requesting Gustahem to follow cautiously, he waited 
awhile for a fit opportunity, till the watchman was off his 
guard, and then killing him, he and Gustahem took up and 
conveyed the two prisoners to a short distance, where they 
knocked off their chains, and then conducted them back to 

When Afrtisiyab arose from sleep, he found his warriors in 
close and earnest conversation, and was *told that a champion 
from Persia had come and killed the watchman, and carried 
off the prisoners. Piran exclaimed : " Then assuredly that 
champion is Rustem, and no other." Afrtisiyab writhed with 
anger and mortification at this intelligence, and sending for 
Barzii, dispatched his army to attack the enemy, and challenge 
Rustem to single combat. Rustem was with the Persian troops, 
and, answering the summons, said : " Young man, if thou art 
calling for Rustem, behold I come in his place to lay thee pros- 
trate on the earth." " Ah ! " rejoined Barzii, " and why this 
threat ? It is true I am but of tender years, whilst thou art 
aged and experienced. But if thou art fire, I am water, and 
able to quench thy flames." Saying this he wielded his bow, 
and fixed the arrow in its notch, and commenced the strife. 

222 THE SHlH N^MEH. 

Rustem also engaged with bow and arrows ; and then they 
each had recourse to their maces, which from repeated strokes 
were soon bent as crooked as their bows, and they were them- 
selves nearly exhausted. Their next encounter was by wrest- 
ling, and dreadful were the wrenches and grasps they received 
from each other. Barzii finding no advantage from this 
struggle, raised his mace, and struck Rustem such a prodigious 
blow on the head, that the champion thought a whole mountain 
had fallen upon him. One arm was disabled, but though the 
wound was desperate, Rusteni had the address to conceal its 
effects, and Barzii wondered that he had made apparently so 
little impression on his antagonist. " Thou art," said he, " a 
surprizing warrior, and seemingly invulnerable. Had I struck 
such a blow on a mountain, it would have been broken into a 
thousand fragments, and yet it makes no impression upon thee. 
Heaven forbid ! " he continued to himself, " that I should ever 
receive so bewildering a stroke upon my own head ! " Rusteni 
1 laving successfully concealed the anguish of his wound, artfully 
observed that it would be better to finish the combat on the 
following day, to which Barzii readily agreed, and then they 
both parted. 

Barzii declared to Afrasiyab that his extraordinary vigour 
and strength had been of no account, for both his antagonist 
and his horse appeared to be composed of materials as hard as 
flint. Every blow was without effect ; and " Heaven only 
knows," added he, '' what may be the result of to-morrow's 
conflict." On the other hand Rusteni shewed his lacerated arm 
to Khosrau, and said : " I have escaped from him ; but who 
else is there now to meet him, and finish the struggle ? Fera- 
inurz, my son, cannot fulfil my promise with Barzii, as he, alas ! 
is fighting in Hindustan. Let me, however, call him hither, 
and in the meanwhile, on some pretext or other, delay the 
engagement." The king, in great sorrow and affliction, sanc- 
tioned his departure, and then said to his warriors : " I will 
fight this Barzii myself to-morrow ; " but Giidarz would not 
consent to it, saying : "As long as we live, the king must not 


be exposed to such hazard. Giw and Byzun, and the other 
chiefs, must first successively encounter the enemy." 

"When Rustem reached his tent, he told his brother Zuara to 
get ready a litter, that he might proceed to Sistan for the pur- 
pose of obtaining a remedy for his wound from the Simurgh. 
Pain and grief kept him awake all night, and he prayed inces- 
santly to the Supreme Being. In the morning early, Ziiara 
brought him intelligence of the \velcome arrival of Feramurz, 
which gladdened his heart ; and as the youth had undergone 
great fatigue on his long journey, Rustem requested him to 
repose awhile, and he himself, freed from anxiety, also sought 
relief in a sound sleep. 

A few hours afterwards both armies were again drawn up, 
and Barzu, like a mad elephant, full of confidence and pride, 
rode forward to resume the combat ; whilst Rustem gave in- 
structions to Feramurz how he was to act. He attired him in 
his own armour, supplied him with his own weapons, and 
mounted him on Rakush, and told him to represent himself to 
Bami as the warrior who had engaged him the day before. 
Accordingly Feramurz entered the middle space, clothed in 
his father's mail, raised his bow, ready bent, and shot an 
arrow at Barzu, crying : " Behold thy adversary ! I am 
the man come to try thy strength again. Advance ! " To 
this Barzii replied : " Why this hilarity, and great flow of 
spirits ? Art thou reckless of thy life ? " " In the eyes of 
warriors," said Feramurz, " the field of fight is the mansion of 
pleasure. After I yesterday parted from thee I drank wine 
with my companions, and the impression of delight still 
remains on my heart. 

; Wine exhilarates the soul, 
Makes the eye with pleasure roll ; 
Lightens up the darkest mien, 
Fills with joy the dullest scene ; 
Hence it is I meet thee now 
With a smile upon my brow." 

Barzu, however, thought that the voice and action of his adversary 


were not the same as he had heard and seen the preceding day, 
although there was no difference in the armour or the horse, and 
therefore he said : " Perhaps the cavalier whom I encountered 
yesterday is wounded or dead, that thou hast mounted his 
charger, and attired thyself in his mail." " Indeed, rejoined 
Ferdmurz, perhaps thou hast lost thy wits ; I am certainly the 
person who engaged thee yesterday, and almost extinguished 
thee ; and with God's favour thou shalt be a dead man to-day." 
" What is thy name ? " " My name is Rustem, descended from 
a race of warriors, and my pleasure consists in contending with 
the lions of battle, and shedding the blood of heroes." Thus 
saying, Fcramurz rushed on his adversary, struck him several 
blows with his battle-axe, and drawing his noose from the 
saddle-strap with the quickness of lightning, secured his prize. 
He might have put an end to his existence in a moment, but 
preferred taking him alive, and shewing him as a captive. 
Afrasiyab seeing the perilous condition of Barzii, came up with 
his whole army to his rescue ; but Kai-khosrau was equally on 
the alert, accompanied by Rustem, who advancing to the 
support of Feramurz, threw another noose round the neck of 
the already-captured Barzii, to prevent the possibility of his 
escape. Both armies now engaged, and the Turanians made 
many desperate efforts to recover their gigantic leader, but all 
their manoeuvres were fruitless. The struggle continued fiercely, 
and with great slaughter, till it was dark, and then ceased ; 
the two kings returning back to the respective positions they 
had taken up before the conflict took place. The Turanians 
were in the deepest grief for thelossofBarzu ; and Piran- Wisah 
having recommended an immediate retreat across the Jihiin, 
Afrasiyab followed his counsel, and precipitately quitted Persia 
with all his troops. 

Kai-khosrau ordered a grand banquet on the occasion of the 
victory ; and when Barzii was brought before him, he com- 
manded his immediate execution ; but Rustem, seeing that he 
was very young, and thinking that he had not yet been 
corrupted and debased by the savage example of the Turanians, 


requested that he might be spared, and, given to him to send 
into Sistan ; and his request was promptly complied with. 

When the mother of Barzii, whose name was Shah-ni, heard 
that her son was a prisoner, she wept bitterly, and hastened to 
Iran, and from thence to Sistan. There happened to be in 
Rustem's employ a singing-girl,* an old acquaintance of her's, 
to whom she was much attached, and to whom she made large 
presents, calling her by the most endearing epithets, in order 
that she might be brought to serve her in the important 
matter she had in contemplation. Her object was soon ex- 
plained, and the preliminaries at once adjusted, and by the 
hands of this singing-girl she secretly sent some food to Barzii, 
in which she concealed a ring, to apprise him of her being near 
him. On finding the ring, he asked who had supplied him 
with the food, and her answer was : " A woman recently 
arrived from Ma-chin." This was to him delightful intelligence, 
and he could not help exclaiming, " That woman is my mother, 
I am grateful for thy services, but another time bring me, if 
thou canst, a large file, that I may be able to free myself from 
these chains." The singing-girl promised her assistance ; and 
having told Shah-rii what her son required, conveyed to 
him a file, and resolved to accompany him in his flight. 
Barzii then requested that three fleet horses might be provided 
and kept ready under the walls, at a short distance ; and this 
being also done, in the night, he and his mother, and the 
singing-girl, effected their escape, and pursued their course 
towards Tiiran. 

It so happened that Rustem Avas at this time in progress 
between Iran and Sista"n, hunting for his own pleasure the elk 
or wild ass, and he accidentally fell in with the refugees, who 
made an attempt to avoid him, but, unable to effect their 
purpose, thought proper to oppose him. with all their might, 

* Theocritus introduces a Greek singing-girl in Idyllium, xv. at the festival 
of Adonis. In the Arabian Nights, the Kaliph is represented at his feasts 
surrounded by troops of the most beautiful females playing on various instru- 



and a sharp contest ensued. Both parties becoming fatigued, 
they rested awhile, when Rustem asked Barzii how he had ob- 
tained his liberty. "The Almighty freed me from the bondage 
I endured." " And who are these two women ? " " One of 
them," replied Barzii, " is my mother, and that is a singing- 
girl of thy own house." Rustem went aside, and called for 
breakfast, and thinking in his own mind that it would be 
expedient to poison Barzii, mixed up a deleterious substance in 
some food, and sent it to him to eat. He was just going to take 
it, when his mother cried, " My sou, beware ! " and he drew 
his hand from the dish. But the singing-girl did eat part of 
it, and died on the spot. Upon witnessing this appalling 
scene, Barzii sprung forward with indignation, and reproached 
Rustem for his treachery in the severest terms. 

" Old man 1 hast thou mid warrior-chiefs a place, 
And dost thou practice that which brings disgrace ? 
Hast thou no fear of a degraded name, 
No fear of lasting obloquy and shame ? 
O, thou canst have no hope in God, when thou 
Stand'st thus defiled, dishonoured, false, as now ; 
Unfair, perfidious, art thou too, in strife, 
By any pretext thou would'st take my life ! " 

He then in a menacing attitude exclaimed : " If thou art a 
man, rise and fight ! " Rustem felt ashamed on being thus 
detected, and rose up frowning in scorn. They met, brandish- 
ing their battle-axes, and looking as black as the clouds of 
night. They then dismounted to wrestle, and fastening the 
bridles, each to his own girdle, furiously grasped each others' 
loins and limbs, straining and struggling for the mastery. 
Whilst they were thus engaged, their horses betrayed equal 
animosity, and attacked each other with great violence. 
Rakush bit and kicked Barzii's steed so severely that he strove 
to gallop away, dragging his master, who was at the same time 
under the excruciating gripe of Rustem. " 0, release me for 
a moment till I am disentangled from my horse," exclaimed 
Barzii ; but Rustem heeding him not, now pressed him down 


beneath him, and was preparing to give him the finishing blow 
by cutting off his head, when the mother seeing the fatal 
moment approach, shrieked, and cried out, " Forbear, Rustem ! 
this youth is the son of Sohrab, and thy own grandchild ! 
Forbear, and bring not on thyself the devouring anguish which 
followed the death of his unhappy father. 

" Think of Sohrab 1 take not the precious life 
Of sire and son unnatural is the strife ; 
Restrain, for mercy's sake, that furious mood, 
And pause before thou shedd'st a kinsman's blood." 

" Ah ! " rejoined Rustem, " can that be true ? " upon which 
Shah-ni showed him Sohrab 's brilliant finger-ring and he was 
satisfied. He then pressed Barzii warmly and affectionately to 
his breast, and kissed his head and eyes, and took him along 
with him to Sistdn, where he placed him in a station of honour, 
and introduced him to his great grandfather Zdl, who received 
and caressed him with becoming tenderness and regard. 


Soon after Afrasiyab had returned defeated into Turun, 
grievously lamenting the misfortune which had deprived him 
of the assistance of Barzii, a woman named Siisen, deeply 
versed in magic and sorcery, came to him, and promised by 
her potent art to put him in the way of destroying Rustem and 
his whole family. 

" Fighting disappointment brings, 
Sword and mace are useless things ; 
If thou would'st a conqueror be, 
Monarch ! put thy trust in me ; 
Soon the mighty chief shall bleed, 
Spells and charms will do the deed 1 " 



Afrasiyiib at first refused to avail himself of her power, but 
was presently induced, by a manifestation of her skill, to consent 
to what she proposed. She required that a distinguished 
warrior should be sent along with her, furnished with abund- 
ance of treasure, honorary tokens and presents, so that none 
might be aware that she was employed on the occasion. 
Afrdsiyiib appointed Pilsam, duly supplied with the requisites, 
and the warrior and the sorceress set off on their journey, 
people being stationed conveniently on the road to hasten the 
first tidings of their success to the king. Their course was 
towards Sistan, and arriving at a fort, they took possession of a 
commodious residence, in which they placed the wealth and 
property they had brought, and, establishing a house of enter- 
tainment, all travellers who passed that way were hospitably 
and sumptuously regaled by them. 

For sparkling wine, and viands rare, 
And mellow fruit, abounded there. 

It is recorded that Eustem had invited to a magnificent feast 
at his palace in Sista"n a large company of the most celebrated 
heroes of the kingdom, and amongst them happened to be Tiis, 
whom the king had deputed to the champion on some important 
state affairs. Giidarz was also present ; and between him and 
Tiis, ever hostile to each other, a dispute as usual took place. 
The latter, always boasting of his ancestry, reviled the old 
warrior and said, " I am the son of Nauder, and the grandson 
of Feridun, whilst thou art but the son of Kavah, the black- 
smith ; why then dost thou put thyself on a footing with 
me ? " Giidarz, in reply, poured upon him reproaches equally 
irritating, accused him of ignorance and folly, and roused the 
anger of the prince to such a degree that he drew his dagger 
to punish the offender, when Rehtlm started up and prevented 
the intended bloodshed. This interposition increased his rage, 
and in serious dudgeon he retired from the banquet, and set off 
on his return to Iran. 

Rustem was not present at the time, but when he heard of 


the altercation and the result of it, he was very angry, saying 
that Giidarz was a relation of the family, and Tus his gnest, 
and therefore wrong had been done, since a guest ought always 
co be protected. " A guest," he said, " ought to be held as 
sacred as the king, and it is the custom of heroes to treat a 
guest with the most scrupulous respect and consideration. 

For a guest is the king of the feast." 

He then requested Gudarz to go after Tus, and by fair words 
and proper excuses bring him back to his festive board. Ac- 
cordingly Gudarz departed. No sooner had he gone than Giw 
rose up, and said, " Tus is little better than a madman, and my 
father of a hasty temper ; I should therefore wish to follow, to 
prevent the possibility of further disagreement." To this 
Rustem consented. Byzun was now also anxious to go, and he 
too got permission. "When all the three had departed, Rustem 
began to be apprehensive that something unpleasant would 
occur, and thought it prudent to send Feramurz to preserve 
the peace. Zal then came forward, and thinking that Tus, the 
descendant of the Kais and his revered guest, might not be 
easily prevailed upon to return either by Gudarz, Giw, Byzun, 
or Feramurz, resolved to go himself and soothe the temper 
which had been so injudiciously and rudely ruffled at the 

When Tus, on his journey from Rustem's palace, approached 
the residence of Siisen the sorceress, he beheld numerous cooks 
and confectioners on every side, preparing all kinds of rich and 
rare dishes of food, and every species of sweetmeat ; and enquir- 
ing to whom they belonged, he was told that the place was 
occupied by the wife of a merchant from Tiiran, who was 
extremely wealthy, and who entertained in the most sumptuous 
manner every traveller who passed that way. Hungiy, and 
curious to see what was going on, Tus dismounted, and leaving 
his horse with the attendants, entered the principal apartment, 
where he saw a fascinating female, and was transported with 
joy. She was 


Tall as the graceful cypress, and as bright, 
As ever struck a lover's ravished bight ; 
Why of her musky locks or ringlets tell ? 
Each silky hair itself contained a spell. 
Why of her face so beautifully fair ? 
Wondering he saw the moon's refulgence there. 

As soon as his transports had subsided lie sat down before 
her, and asked her who she was, and upon what adventure she 
was engaged ; and she answered that she was a singing-girl, 
that a wealthy merchant some time ago had fallen in love with 
and married her, and soon afterwards died ; that Afrisiyjib, the 
king, had since wished to take her into his harem, which 
alarmed her, and she had in consequence fled from his country ; 
she was willing, however, she said, to become the hand-maid of 
Kai-khosrau, he being a true king, and of a sweet and gentle 

A persecuted damsel I, 

Thus the detested tyrant fly, 

And hastening from impending woes, 

In happy Persia seek repose ; 

For long as cherished life remains, 

Pleasure must smile where Khosrau reigns. 

Thence did I from my home depart. 

To please and bless a Persian heart." 

The deception worked effectually on the mind of Tiis, and he 
at once entered into the notion of escorting her to Kai-khosrati. 
But he was immediately supplied with charmed viands and 
goblets of rich wine, which he had not the power to resist, till 
his senses forsook him, and then Pilsam appeared, and, binding 
him with cords, conveyed him safely and secretly into the in- 
terior of the fort. In a short time Gudarz arrived, and he too 
was received and treated in the same manner. Then Giw and 
Byzun were seized and secured ; and after them came Zal : but 
notwithstanding the enticements that were used, and the attrac- 
tions that presented themselves, he would neither enter the en- 
chanted apartment, nor taste the enchanted food or wine. 

The witching cup was filled to the brim, 

But the magic draught had no charms for him. 


A person whispered in his ear that the woman had already 
wickedly got into her power several warriors, and he felt 
assured that they were his own friends. To be revenged for 
this treachery ho rushed forward, and would have seized hold 
of the sorceress, but she* fled into the fort and fastened the 
gate. He instantly sent a messenger to Rustem, explaining 
the perplexity in which he was involved, and exerting all his 
strength, broke down the gate that had just been closed against 
him. As soon as the passage was opened, out rushed Pilsam, 
who with his mace commenced a furious battle with Zal, in 
which he nearly overpowered him, when Feramurz reached the 
spot, and telling the venerable old warrior to stand aside, took 
his place, and fought with Pilsam without intermission all day, 
and till they were parted by the darkness of night. 

Early in the morning Rustem, accompanied by Barzii, arrived 
from Sistiin, and entering the fort, called aloud for Pilsam. He 
also sent Feramurz to Kai-khcsrau to inform him of what had 
occurred. Pilsam at length issued forth, and attacked the 
champion. They first fought with bows and arrows, with 
javelins next, and then successively with maces, and swords, 
and daggers. The contest lasted the whole day ; and when at 
night they parted, neither had gained the victoiy. The next 
morning immense clouds of dust were seen, and they were 
found to be occasioned by Afrasiyab and his army marching to 
the spot. Rustem appointed Barzii to proceed with his Zabul 
troops against him, whilst he himself encountered Pilsam. The 
strife between the two was dreadful. Rustem struck him several 
times furiously upon the head, and at length stretched him life- 
less on the sand. He then impelled Rakush towards the Tura- 
nian army, and aided by Zal and Barzii, committed tremendous 
havoc among them. 

So thick the arrows fell, helmet, and mail, 

And shield, pierced through, looked like a field of reeds. 

Iii the meantime Suscn, the sorceress, escaped from the fort, and 
fled to Afrasiyab. 

232 THE SHAH NAMJffl. 

Another cloud of dust spreading from earth to heaven, was 
observed in the direction of Persia, and the waving banners 
becoming more distinct, presently showed the approach of the 

king, Kai-khosrau. 

The steely javelins sparkled in the sun, 
Helmet aud shield, and joyous seemed the sight. 
Banners, all gorgeous, floating on the breeze, 
And horns shrill echoing, and the tramp of steeds, 
Proclaimed to dazzled eye and hal -stunned ear, 
The mighty preparation. 

The hostile armies soon met, and there was a sanguinary 
conflict, but the Turanians were obliged to give way. Upon 
this common result, Piran Wisah declared to Afrasiyab that 
perseverance was as ridiculous as unprofitable. " Our army has 
no heart, nor confidence, when opposed to Eustem ; how often 
have we been defeated by him how often have we been scat- 
tered like sheep before that lion in battle ! We have just lost 
the aid of Barzu, and now is it not deplorable to put any trust 
in the "dreams of a singing-girl, to accelerate on her account 
the ruin of the country, and to hazard thy own personal 

"What 1 risk an empire on a woman's word ! " 

Afrasiyab replied, " So it is ; " and instantly urged his horse 
into the middle of the plain, where he loudly challenged Kai- 
khosrau to single combat, saying, " Why should we uselessly 
shed the blood of our warriors and people. Let us ourselves 
decide the day. God will give the triumph to him who merits 
it." Kai-khosrau was ashamed to refuse this challenge, and 
descending from his elephant, mounted his horse aud prepared 
for the onset. But his warriors seized the bridle, and would 
not allow him to fight. He declared, however, that he would 
himself take revenge for the blood of Saiawush, and struggled 
to overcome the friends who were opposing his progress. " For- 
bear awhile," said Rustem, " Afrasiyab is expert in all the arts 
of the warrior, fighting with the sword, the dagger, in archery, 


and wrestling. When I wrestled with him, and held him down, 
he could not have escaped, excepting by the exercise of the most 
consummate dexterity. Allow thy warriors to fight for thee." 
But the king was angry, and said, " The monarch who does not 
fight for himself, is unworthy of the crown." Upon hearing 
this, Rustem wept tears of blood. Barzii now took hold of the 
king's stirrup, and knocked his forehead against it, and draw- 
ing his dagger, threatened to put an end to himself, saying, 
*' My blood will be upon thy neck, if thou goest ; " and he con- 
tinued in a strain so eloquent and persuasive that Khosrau re- 
laxed in his determination^ and observed to Rustem : " There 
can be no doubt that Barzii is descended from thee." Barzii 
now respectfully kissed the ground before the king, and vault- 
ing on his saddle with admirable agility, rushed onwards to the 
middle space where Afrasiyab was waiting, and roared aloud. 
Afnisiyab burned with indignation at the sight, and said in his 
heart : " It seems that I have nurtured and instructed this 
ingrate, to shed my own blood. Thou wretch of demon-birth, 
thou knowest not thy father's name ! and yet thou comest to 
wage war against me ! Art thou not ashamed to look upon 
the king of Turin after what he has done for thee ? " Barzii 
replied : " Although thou didst protect me, thou spilt the blood 
of Saiawush and Aghriras unjustly. When I ate thy salt, I 
served thee faithfully, and fought for thee. I now eat the salt 
of Kai-khosrau, and my allegiance is due to him." 

He spoke, and raised his bat.tlc-axc, and rushed, 
Swift as a demon of Mazinderan, 
Against Af rasiyab, who, frowning, cried : 
"Approach not like a furious elephant, 
Heedless what may befall thee nor provoke 
The wrath of him whose certain aim is death." 
Then placed he on the string a pointed dart, 
And shot it from the bow ; whizzing it flew, 
And pierced the armour of the wondering youth, 
Inflicting on his side a painful wound. 
Which made his heart with trepidation throb ; 
High exultation marked the despot's brow, 
Seeing the gusli of blood his loins distain. 

Barzii was now anxious to assail Afnisiyab with his mace, 


instead of arrows ; but whenever he tried to get near enough, 
he was disappointed by the adroitness of his adversary, whom 
he could not reach. He was at last compelled to lay aside the 
battle-axe, and have recourse to his bow, but every arrow was 
dexterously received by Afrasiyab on his shield ; and Barzii, on 
his part, became equally active and successful. Afrtlsiydb soon 
emptied his quiver, and then he grasped his mace with the 
intention of extinguishing his antagonist at once, but at the 
moment Hiimtln came up, and said : " 0, king ! do not bring 
thyself into jeopardy by contending against a person of no 
account ; thy proper adversary is Kai-khosniu, and not him, 
for if thou gainest the victory, it can only be a victory over a 
fatherless soldier, and if thou art killed, the whole of Tunin 
will be at the feet of Persia." Both Piriln and Hiimtin dis- 
suaded the king from continuing the engagement singly, and 
directed the Turanians to commence a general attack. Afra- 
siyab told them that if Barzti was not slain, it would be a great 
misfortune to their country ; in consequence, they surrounded 
him, and inflicted on him many severe wounds. But Eustem 
and Fenimurz, beholding the dilemma into which Barzii was 
thrown, hastened to his support, and many of the enemy were 
killed by them, and great carnage followed by the advance of 
the Persian army. 

The noise of clashing swords, and ponderous maces 
Ringing upon the iron mail, seemed like 
The busy work-shop of an armourer ; 
Tumultuous as the sea the field appeared, 
All crimsoned with the blood of heroes slain. 

Kai-khosrau himself hurried to the assistance of Barzii, and 
the powerful force which he brought along with him soon put 
the Turanians to flight. Afrasiyab too made his escape in the 
confusion that prevailed. The king wished to pursue the enemy, 
but Rustem observed that their defeat and dispersion was 
enough. The battle having ceased, and the army being in the 
neighbourhood of Sisttln, the champion solicited permission to 


return to his home ; " for I am now," said he, " four hundred 
years old, and require a little rest. In the meantime Feramurz 
and Barzu may take my place." The king consented, and dis- 
tributing his favours to each of his distinguished warriors for 
their prodigious exertions, left Zal and Kustern to proceed to 
Sistiin, and returned to the capital of his kingdom. 


The overthrow of the sovereign of Turan had only a 
temporary effect, as it was not long before he was enabled to 
collect further supplies, and another army for the defence of 
his kingdom ; and Kai-khosrau's ambition to reduce the 
power of his rival being animated by new hopes of success, 
another expedition was entrusted to the command of Giidarz. 
Rustem, he said, had done his duty in repeated campaigns 
against Afrasiyab, and the extraordinary gallantry and wisdom 
with which they were conducted, entitled him to the highest 
applause. " It is now, Gudarz, thy turn to vanquish the 
enemy." Accordingly Gndarz, accompanied by Giw, and Tiis 
and Byzun, and an immense army, proceeded towards Tiiran. 
Feramurz was directed previously to invade and conquer Hindus- 
tan, and from thence to march to the borders of Chin and Ma- 
chin, for the purpose of uniting and co-operating with the army 
under Gudarz, and, finally, to capture Afnisiyab. 

As soon as it was known in Tiiran that Gudarz was in 
motion to resume hostilities against the king, Human was 
appointed with a large force to resist his progrcs?, and a second 
army of reserve was gathered together under the command of 
Piran. The first conflict which occurred was between the 


troops of Gudarz and Human. Giidarz directed Byzun to 
attack Human. The two chiefs joined in battle, when Htimdn 
fell under the sword of his adversary, and his army, being 
defeated, retired, and united in the rear with the legions of 
Piran. The enemy thus became of formidable strength, and 
in consequence it was thought proper to communicate the 
inequality to Kai-khosniu, that reinforcements might be sent 
without loss of time. The king immediately complied, and 
also wrote to Sistan to request the aid of Rustem. The war 
lasted two years, the army on each side being continually 
recruited as necessity required, so that the numbers were 
regularly kept up, till a great battle took place, in which 
the venerable Piran was killed, and nearly the whole of his 
army destroyed. This victory was obtained without the assist- 
ance of Rustem, who, notwithstanding the message of the 
king, had still remained in Sistan. The loss of Pit-tin, the 
counsellor and warrior, proved to be a great affliction to Afra- 
siyab : he felt as if his whole support was taken away, and 
deemed it the signal of approaching ruin to his cause. 

" Zhou wert my refuge, tbou my friend and brother ; 

Wise in thy counsel, gallant in the field, 

My monitor and guide and thou art gone ! 

The glory of my kingdom is eclipsed, 

Since thou hast vanished from this world, and left, me 

All wretched to myself. But food, nor sleep 

Nor rest will I indulge in, till just vengeance 

Has been inflicted on the cruel foe." 

When the news of Piran's death reached Kai-khosrau, he 
rapidly marched forward, crossed the Jihun without delay, and 
passed through Samerkand and Bokhara, to encounter the 
Turanians. Afrasiyab, in the meantime, had not been neglect- 
ful. He had all his hidden treasure dug up, with which he 
assembled a prodigious army, and appointed his son Shydah- 
Poshang to the command of a hundred thousand horsemen. 
To oppose this force, Khosrau appointed his young relative, 
Lohurasp, with eight thousand horsemen, and passing through 


Siskin, desired Rustem, on account of Lohurasp's tender age 
and inexperience, to afford him such good counsel as he 
required. When Afrasiyab heard this, he added to the force of 
Shydah another hundred thousand men, but first sent his son 
to Kai-khosrau in the character of an ambassador to offer terms 
of peace. " Tell him," said he, " that to secure this object, I 
will deliver to him one of my sons as a hostage, and a number 
of troops for his service, with the sacred promise never to 
depart from my engagements again. But, a word in thy ear, 
Shydah ; if Khosrau is not disposed to accept these terms, say, 
to prevent unnecessary bloodshed, he and I must personally 
decide the day by single combat. If he refuses to fight with 
me, say that thou wilt meet him ; and shouldst thou be slain in 
the strife, I will surrender to him the kingdom of Turan, 
and retire myself from the world." He. further commanded 
him to propound these terms with a gallant and fearless 
bearing, and not to betray the least apprehension. Shydah 
entered fully into the spirit of his father's instructions, and 
declared that he would devote his life to the cause, that he 
would boldly before the whole assembly dare Kai-khosr<iu to 
battle ; so that Afrasiyab was delighted with the valorous 
disposition he displayed. 

Kai-khosniu smiled when he heard of what Afrasiyab in- 
tended, and viewed the proposal as a proof of his weakness. 
" But never," said he, " will I consent to a peace till I have 
inflicted on him the death which Saiawush was made to suffer. 
When Shydah arrived, and with proper ceremony and respect 
had delivered his message, Kai-khosrau invited him to retire 
to his chamber and go to rest, and he would send an answer by 
one of his people. Shydah accordingly retired, and the king 
proceeded to consult his warrior-friends on the offers that had 
been made. " Afrasiyab tells me," said he, " that if I do not 
wish for peace, I must fight either him or his son. I have 
seen Shydah his eyes are red and blood-shot, and he has a 
fierce expression of feature ; if I do not accept his terms, I 
shall probably soon have a dagger lodged in my breast." 


Saying tin's, he ordered his mail to be got ready ; but Rustem 
and all the great men about him exclaimed, unanimously 
" This must not be allowed ; Afrasiydb is full of fraud, artifice, 
and sorcery, and notoriously faithless to his engagements. The 
sending of Shydah is all a trick, and his letter of proposal 
all deceit : his object is simply to induce thee to fight him 

If thou shouldst kill this Shydah what of that 1 
There would be one Turanian warrior less, 
To vex the world withal ; would that be triumph 1 
And to a Persian king 1 But if it chanced, 
That thou should'st meet with an untimely death, 
By dart or javelin, at the stripling's hands, 
What scathe and ruin would this realm befall ! " 

By the advice of Rustem, Kai-khosrau gave Shydah per- 
mission to depart, and said that he would send his answer to 
Afnisiyilb by Karun. " But," observed the youth, " I have 
come to fight thee ! " which touched the honour of the king, 
and he replied : " Be it so, let us then meet to-morrow." 

In the mean time Khosrtlu prepared his letter to Afrasiyilb, in 
which he said : 

" Our quarrel now is dark to view, 

It bears the fiercest, gloomiest hue ; 

And vain have speech and promise been 

To change for peace the battle scene ; 

For thou art still to treachery prone, 

Though gentle now in word and tone ; 

But that imperial crown thou wearest, 

That mace which thou in battle bcarest, 

Thy kingdom, all, thou must resign ; 

Thy army too for all are mine ! 

Thou talk'st of strength, and might, and power, 

When revelling in a prosperous hour ; 

But know, that strength of nerve and limb 

We owe to God it comes from Him ! 

And victory's palm, and regal sway, 

Alike the will of Heaven obey. 

Hence thy lost throne, no longer thine, 

Will soon, perfidious king ! be mine 1 " 

In giving this letter to Karun, Kai-khosnlii directed him, in 


the first place, to deliver a message from him to Shydah, to the 
following effect : 

" Driven art thou out from home and life. 
Doomed to engage in mortal strife, 
For deeply lours misfortune's cloud ; 
That gay attire will be thy shroud ; 
Blood from thy father's eyes will gush, 
As Kaus wept for Saiawush." 

In the morning Khosniu went to the appointed place, and 
when he approached Shydah, the latter said, " Thou hast come 
on foot, let our trial be in wrestling ; " and the proposal being 
agreed to, both applied themselves fiercely to the encounter, at 
a distance from the troops. 

The youth appeared with joyous mien, 
And bounding heart, for life was new ; 

By either host the strife was seen, 
And strong and fierce the combat grew. 

Shydah exerted his utmost might, but was unable to move 
his antagonist from the ground ; whilst Khosrdu lifted him up 
without difficulty, and, dashing him on the plain, 

He sprang upon him as the lion fierce 

Springs on the nimble gor, then quickly drew 

His deadly dagger, and with cruel aim, 

Thrust the keen weapon through the stripling's heart. 

Khosniu, immediately after slaying him, ordered the body to 
be washed with musk and rose-water, and, after burial, a tomb 
to be raised to his memory. 

"When Karun reached the court of Afrasiyab with the answer 
to the offer of peace, intelligence had previously arrived that 
Shydah had fallen in the combat, which produced in the mind 
of the father the greatest anguish. He gave no reply to 
Karun, but ordered the drums and trumpets to be sounded, 
and instantly marched with a large army against the enemy. 
The two hosts were soon engaged, the auger of the Turanians 
being so much roused and sharpened by the death of the 


prince, that they were utterly regardless of their lives. The 
battle, therefore, was fought with unusual fury. 

Two sovereigns in the field, in desperate strife, 
Each by a grievous cause of wrath, urged on 
To glut revenge ; this, for a father's life 
Wantonly sacrificed ; that for a son 
Slain in his prime. The carnage has begun, 
And blood is seen to flow on every side ; 
Thousands are slaughtered ere the day is done, 
And weltering swell the sanguinary tide ; 
And why 1 To soothe man's hate, his cruelty, and pride. 

The battle terminated in the discomfiture and defeat of the 
Tiiriinians, who fled from the conquerors in the utmost con 
fusion. The people seized hold of the bridle of Afnisiyab's 
horse, and obliged him to follow his scattered army. 

Kai-khosrau having dispatched an account of his victory to 
Kaiis, went in pursuit of Afrasiyab, traversing various countries 
and provinces, till he arrived on the borders of Chin. The 
Khakan, or sovereign of that state, became in consequence 
greatly alarmed, and presented to him large presents to gain 
his favour, but the only object of Khosrau was to secure 
Afrasiyab, and he told the ambassador that if his master dared 
to afford him protection, he would lay waste the whole kingdom. 
The Khakdn therefore withdrew his hospitable services, and 
the abandoned king was compelled to seek another place of 


Melancholy and afflicted, Afrasiyab penetrated through wood 
and desert, and entered the province of Mikriln, whither he 
was followed by Kai-khosrdu and his army. He then quitted 
Mikrdn, but his followers had fallen off to a small number 


and to whatever country or region he repaired for rest and 
protection, none was given, lest the vengeance of Kai-khosrau 
should be hurled upon the offender. StiU pursued and hunted 
like a wild beast, and still flying from his enemies, the small 
retinue which remained with him at last left him, and he was 
left alone, dejected, destitute, and truly forlorn. In this state 
of desertion he retired into a cave, where he hoped to continue 
undiscovered and unseen. 

It chanced, however, that a man named Hum, of the race of 
Feridiin, dwelt hard by. He was remarkable for his strength 
and bravery, out had peacefully taken up his abode upon the 
neighbouring mountain, and was passing a religious life with- 
out any communication with the busy world. His dwelling 
was a little way above the cave of Afrasiyab. One night he 
heard a voice of lamentation below, and anxious to ascertain 
from whom and whence it proceeded, he stole down to the spot 
and listened. The mourner spoke in the Turkish language, and 
said : " king of Turan and Chin, where is now thy pomp 
and power ! How has Fortune cast away thy throne and thy 
treasure to the winds ? " Hearing these words Hum con- 
jectured that this must be Afrasiyab ; and as he had suffered 
severely from the tyranny of that monarch, his feelings of 
vengeance were awakened, and he approached nearer to be 
certain that it was he. The same lamentations were repeated, 
and he felt assured that it was Afrasiyab himself. He waited 
patiently, however, till morning dawned, and then he called 
out at the mouth of the cave : " 0, king of the world ! 
come out of thy cave, and obtain thy desires ! I have left the 
invisible sphere to accomplish thy wishes. Appear ! " Afra- 
siyab thinking this a spiritual call, went out of the cave and 
was instantly recognized by Hum, who at the same moment 
struck him a severe blow on the forehead, which felled him 
to the earth, and then secured his hands behind his back. 
When the monarch found himself in fetters and powerless, 
he complained of the cruelty inflicted upon him, and asked 
Hum why he had treated a stranger in that manner. Hum 



replied : " How many a prince of the race of Feridun hast 
thou sacrificed to thy ambition ? How many a heart hast thou 
broken ? I, too, am one who was compelled to fly from thy 
persecutions, and take refuge here on this desert mountain, and 
constantly have I prayed for thy ruin that I might be released 
from this miserable mode of existence, and be permitted to 
return to my paternal home. My prayer has been heard at 
last, and God has delivered thee into my hands. But how 
earnest thou hither, and by what strange vicissitudes art thou 
thus placed before me ? " Afrasiyab communicated to him the 
story of his misfortunes, and begged of him rather to put him 
to death on the spot than convey him to Kai-khosniu. But 
Hum was too much delighted with having the tyrant under 
his feet to consider either his safety or his feelings, and was 
not long in bringing him to the Persian king. Kai-khosniu 
received the prisoner with exultation, and made Hiim a 
magnificent present. He well recollected the basin and the 
dagger used in the murder of Saiawush, and commanded the 
presence of the treacherous Gersiwaz, that he and Afrasiyab 
might suffer, in every respect, the same fate together. The 
basin was brought, and the two victims were put to death, like 
two goats, their heads being chopped off from their bodies. 

After this sanguinary catastrophe, Kai-khosriiu returned to 
Iran, leaving Rustem to proceed to his own principality. Kai- 
kaus quitted his palace, according to his established custom, to 
welcome back the conqueror. He kissed his head and face, 
and showered upon him praises and blessings for the valour he 
had displayed, and the deeds he had done, and especially for 
having so signally revenged the cruel murder of his father 



Kai-khosrtiu at last became inspired by an insurmountable 
attachment to a religious life, and thought only of devotion to 
God. Thus influenced by a disposition peculiar to ascetics, he 
abandoned the duties of sovereignty, and committed all state 
affairs to the care of his ministers. The chiefs and warriors 
remonstrated respectfully against this mode of government, 
and trusted that he would devote only a few hours in the day 
to the transactions ot the kingdom, and the remainder to 
prayer and religious exercises ; but this he refused, saying : 
" One heart is not equal to both duties ; my affections indeed 
are not for this transitory world, and I trust to be an inhabitant 
of the world to come." The nobles were in great sorrow at 
this declaration, and anxiously applied to Zal and Kustem, in 
the hopes of working some change in the king's disposition. 
On their arrival the people cried to them : 

" Some evil eye has smote the king ; Iblis 

By wicked wiles has led his soul astray, 

And withered all life's pleasures. release 

Our country from the sorrow, the dismay 

Which darkens every heart : hia ruin stay. 

Is it not mournful thus to see him cold 

And gloomy, casting pomp and joy away 1 

Restore him to himself ; let us behold 

Again the victor-king, the generous, just and bold." 

Zal and Rustcm went to the palace of the king in a melan- 
choly mood, and Khosrau having heard of their approach, 
enquired of them why they had left Sistan. They replied that 
the news of his having relinquished all concern in the affairs of 
the kingdom had induced them to wait upon him. " I am 
weary of the troubles of this life," said he composedly, " and 
anxious to prepare for a future state." " But death," observed 
Zal, " is a great evil. It is dreadful to die ! " Upon this the 
king said : " I cannot endure any longer the deceptions and 
the perfidy of mankind. My love of heaven is so great that I 

it 2 


cannot exist one moment without devotion and prayer. Last 
night a mysterious voice whispered in my ear : The time of 
thy departure is nigh, prepare the load for thy journey, and 
neglect not thy warning angel, or the opportunity will be lost." 
When Zal and Rustem saw that Khosrau was resolved, and 
solemnly occupied in his devotions, they were for some time 
silent. But Ztil was at length moved, and said : " I will go 
into retirement and solitude with the king, and by continual 
prayer, and through his blessing, I too may be forgiven." 
" This, indeed," said the king, " is not the place for me. I 
must seek out a solitary cell, and there resign my soul to 
heaven." Zal and Rustem wept, and quitted the palace, and 
all the warriors were in the deepest affliction. 

The next day Kai-khosrau left his apartment, and called to- 
gether his great men and warriors, and said to them : 

" That which I sought for, I have now obtained. 
Nothing remains of worldly wish, or hope, 
To disappoint or vex me. I resign 
The pageantry of kings, and turn away 
From all the pomp of the Kaianian throne. 
Sated with human grandeur. Now, farewell ! 
Such is my destiny. To those brave friends, 
Who, ever faithful, have my power upheld, 
I will discharge the duty of a king, 
Paying the pleasing debt of gratitude." 

He thvin ordered his tents to be pitched in the desert, and 
opened his treasury, and for seven days made a sumptuous 
feast, and distributed food and money among the indigent, the 
widows, and orphans, and every destitute person was abun- 
dantly supplied with the necessaries of life, so that there was 
no one left in a state of want throughout the empire. He also 
attended to the claims of his warriors. To Rustem he gave 
Zabul, and Kabul, and Nim-ruz. He appointed Lohurasp, the 
son-in-law of Kai-Kiius, successor to his throne, and directed 
all his people to pay the same allegiance to him as they had 
done to himself; and they unanimously consented, declaring 
their firm attachment to his person and government. He ap- 


pointed Giidarz the chief minister, and Giw to the chief com- 
mand of the armies. To Tiis he gave Khorassan ; and he said 
to Friburz, the son of Kiius : " Be thou obedient, I beseech 
thee, to the commands of Lohurasp, whom I have instructed, 
'and brought up with paternal care ; for I know of no one so 
well qualified in the art of governing a kingdom." The warriors 
of Iran were surprised, and murmured together, that the son of 
Kai-kaus should be thus placed under the authority of Lohu- 
rasp. But Zal observed to them : " If it be the king's will, it 
is enough ! " The murmurs of the warriors having reached 
Kai-khosrau, he sent for them, and addressed them thus : 
" Friburz is well known to be unequal to the functions of 
sovereignty ; but Lohurasp is enlightened, and fully compre- 
hends all the duties of regal sway. He is a descendant of 
Hiisheng, wise and merciful, and God is my witness, I think 
him pefectly calculated to make a nation happy." Hearing 
this eulogium on the character of the new king from Kai- 
khosniu, all the warriors expressed their satisfaction, and 
anticipated a glorious reign. Khosrdu further said : " I must 
now address you on another subject. In my dreams a fountain 
has been pointed out to me ; and when I visit that fountain, 
my life will be resigned to its Creator." He then bid farewell 
to all the people around him, and commenced his journey ; and 
when he had accomplished one stage he pitched his tent. Next 
day he resumed his task, and took leave of Zal and Rustein j 
who wept bitterly as they parted from him. 

" Alas ! " they said, " that one on whom 

Heaven has bestowed a mind so gre it, 
A heart so brave, should seek the tomb, 

And not his hour in patience wait. 
The wise in wonder gaze, and say, 

No mortal being ever trod 
Before, the dim supernal way, 

And living, saw the face of God 1 " 

After Zal and Rustem, then Khosniu to >k leave of G-udarz 
and Giw and Tus, and Gustahem, but unwilling to go bad*, 


they continued with him. He soon arrived at the promised 
fountain, in which he bathed. .He then said to his followers: 
" Now is the time for our separation ; you must go ; " but, 
they still remained. Again he said : " You must go quickly.; 
for presently heavy showers of snow will fall, and a tempestuous 
wind will arise, and you will perish in the storm." Saying 
this, he went into the fountain, and vanished ! 

And not a trace was left behind, 

And not a dimple on the wave ; 
All sought, but sought in vain, to find 

The spot which proved Kai-khosrau's grave 1 

The king having disappeared in this extraordinary manner, 
a loud lamentation ascended from his followers ; and when the 
paroxysm of amazement and sorrow had ceased, Friburz said : 
" Let us now refresh ourselves with food, and rest awhile." 
Accordingly those that remained ate a little, and were soon 
afterwards overcome with sleep. Suddenly a great wind arose, 
and the snow fell and clothed the earth in white, and all the 
warriors and soldiers who accompanied Kai-khosrau to the 
mysterious fountain, and amongst them Tus and Friburz, and 
Giw, were while asleep overwhelmed in the drifts of snow. Not 
a man survived. Giidarz had returned when about half-way on 
the road ; and not hearing for a long time any tidings of his 
companions, sent a person to ascertain the cause of their delay. 
Upon proceeding to the fatal place, the messenger, to his 
amazement and horror, found them all stiff and lifeless under 
the snow ! 


The reputation of Lohurasp was of the highest order, and it 
is said that his administration of the affairs of his kingdom was 


more just and paternal than even that of Kai-khosniu. " The 
counsel which Khosrau gave me," said he, "was wise and 
admirable ; but I find that I must go beyond him in moderation 
and clemency to the pocr." Lohurasp had four sous, two by 
the daughter of Kai-kaus, one named Ardshlr, and the other 
Shydasp ; and two by another woman, and they were named 
Gushttisp and Zarir. Bat Gushtasp was intrepid, acute, and 
apparently marked out for sovereignty, and on account of his 
independent conduct, no favourite with his father ; in defiance 
of whom, with a rebellious spirit, he collected together a hundred 
thousand horsemen, and proceeded with them towards Hindu- 
stan of his own accord. Lohurasp sent after him his brother 
Zanr, with a thousand horsemen, in the hopes of influencing 
him to return ; but when Zarir overtook him and endeavoured 
to persuade him not to proceed any further, he said to him, 
with an animated look : 

" Proceed no farther 1 Well thou know'st 

We've no Kaianian blood to boast, 

And, therefore, but a minor part 

In Lohurasp's paternal heart. 

Nor thou, nor I, can ever own 

From him the diadem or throne. 

The brothers of Kaiis's race 

By birth command the brightest place, 

Then what remains for us ? We must 

To other means our fortunes trust. 

We cannot linger here, and bear 

A life of discontent despair." 

Zarir, however, reasoned with him so winningly and effectually, 
that at last he consented to return ; but only upon the condi- 
tion that he should be nominated heir to the throne, and treated 
with becoming respect and ceremony. Zarir agreed to interpose 
his efforts to this end, and brought him back to his father ; but 
it was soon apparent that Lohurasp had no inclination to pro- 
mote the elevation of Gushtasp in preference to the claims of 
his other sons ; and indeed shortly afterwards manifested to 
what quarter his determination on this subject was directed. It 
was indeed enough that his determination was unfavourable to 
the views of Gushtasp, who now, in disgust, fled from his fathers' 


house, but without any attendants, and shaped his course towards 
Rum. Lohurasp again sent Zarir in quest of him ; but the 
youth, after a tedious search, returned without success. Upon 
his arrival in Rum, Gushtasp chose a solitary retirement, where 
he remained some time, and was at length compelled by poverty 
and want, to ask for employment in the establishment of the 
sovereign of that country, stating that he was an accomplished 
scribe, and wrote a beautiful hand. He was told to wait a few 
days, as at that time there was no vacancy. But hunger was 
pressing, and he could not suffer delay ; he therefore went to 
the master of the camel-drivers and asked for service, but he 
too had no vacancy. However, commiserating the distressed 
condition of the applicant, he generously supplied him with a 
hearty meal. After that, Gushtasp went into a blacksmith's 
shop, and asked for work, and his services were accepted. The 
blacksmith put the hammer into his hands, and the first blow 
he struck was given with such force, that he broke the anvil 
to pieces. The blacksmith was amazed and angry, and indig- 
nantly turned him out of his shop, uttering upon him a thousand 
violent reproaches. 

Wounded in spirit, broken-hearted, 
Misfortune darkening o'er his heatl. 

To other lands he then departed, 
To seek another home for bread. 

Disconsolate and wretched, he proceeded on his journey, and 
observing a husbandman standing in a field of corn, he ap- 
proached the spot and sat down. The husbandman seeing a 
strong muscular youth, apparently a Turanian, sitting in 
sorrow and tears, went up to him and asked him the cause of 
his grief, and he soon became acquainted with all the circum- 
stances of the stranger's life. Pitying his distress, he took him 
home and gave him some food. 

After having partaken sufficiently of the refreshments placed 
before him, Gushtasp inquired of his host to what tribe he 
belonged, and from whom he was descended. u I am descended 
from Feridun," rejoined he, "and I belong to the Kaianian 


tribe. My occupation in this retired spot is, as thou seest, the 
cultivation of the ground, and the customs and duties of 
husbandry." Gushttisp said, "I am myself descended from 
Hrisheng, who was the ancestor of Feridun ; we are, therefore, 
of the same origin." In consequence of this connection, Gush- 
ttisp and the husbandman lived together on the most friendly 
footing for a considerable time. At length the star of his 
fortune began to illumine his path, and the favour of Heaven 
became manifest. 

It was the custom of the king of Rum, when his daughters 
came of age, to give a splendid banquet, and to invite to it all the 
youths of illustrious birth in the kingdom, in order that each 
might select one of them most suited to her taste, for her 
future husband. His daughter Kitabiin was now of age, and 
in conformity with the established practice, the feast was 
prepared, and the youths of royal descent invited ; but it so 
happened that not one of them was sufficiently attractive for 
her choice, and the day passed over uuprofitably. She had 
been told in a dream that a youth of a certain figure and aspect 
had arrived in the kingdom from Iran, and that to him she 
was destined to be married. But there was not one at her 
father's banquet who answered to the description of the man 
she had seen in her dream, and in consequence she was dis- 
appointed. On the following day the feast was resumed. She 
had again dreamt of the youth to whom she was to be united. 
She had presented to him a bunch of roses, and he had given 
her a rose-branch, and each regarded the other with smiles of 
mutual satisfaction. In the morning Kitabun issued a pro- 
clamation, inviting all the young men of royal extraction, 
whether natives of the kingdom or strangers, to her father's 
feast. On that day Gushtasp and the husbandman had come 
into the city from the country, and hearing the proclamation 
the latter said : " Let us go, for in this lottery the prize may be 
drawn in thy name." They accordingly went. Kitabtin's 
handmaid was in waiting at the door, and kept every young 
man standing awhile, that her mistress might mark him wcU 


before she allowed him to pass into the banquet. The keen 
eyes of Kitabun soon saw Gushtasp, and her heart instantly 
acknowledged him as her promised lord, for he was the same 
person she had seen in her dream. 

As near the graceful stripling drew, 

She cried : " My dream, my dream is true I 

Fortune from visions of the night 

Has brought him to my longing sight. 

Truth has pourtrayed his form divine ; 

He lives he lives and he is mine ! " 

She presently descended from her balcony, and gave him a 
bunch of roses, the token by which her choice was made known, 
and then retired. The king, when he heard of what she had 
done, was exceedingly irritated, thinking that her affections 
were placed on a beggar, or some nameless stranger of no birth 
or fortune, and his first impulse was to have her put to death. 
But his people assembled around him, and said : " What can 
be the use of killing her ? It is in vain to resist the flood of 
destiny, for what will be, will be. 

The world itself is governed still by Fate, 
Fate rules the warrior's and the monarch's state ; 
And woman's heart, the passions of her soul, 
Own the same power, obey the same control ; 
For what can love's impetuous force restrain ? 
Blood may be shed, but what will be thy gain? 

After this remonstrance he desired enquiries to be made into 
the character and parentage of his proposed son-in-law, and 
was told his name, the name of his father, and of his ancestors, 
and the causes which led to his present condition. But he 
would not believe a word of the narration. He was then in- 
formed of his daughter's dream, and other particulars : and he 
so far relented as to sanction the marriage ; but indignantly 
drove her from his house, with her husband, without a dowry, 
or any money to supply themselves with food. 

Gushtasp and his wife took refuge in a miserable cell, which 
they inhabited, and when necessity pressed, he used to cross the 


river, and bring in an elk or wild ass from the forest, gave 
half of it to the ferryman for his trouble, and kept the re- 
mainder for his own board, so that he and the ferryman 
became great friends by these mutual obligations. It is re- 
lated that a person of distinction, named Mabrin, solicited the 
king's second daughter in marriage ; and Ahrun, another man 
of rank, was anxious to be espoused to the third, or youngest ; 
but the king was unwilling to part with either of them, and 
openly declared his sentiments to that effect. Mabrin, however, 
was most assiduous and persevering in his attentions, and at 
last made some impression on the father, who consented to 
permit the marriage of the second daughter, but only on the 
following conditions : " There is," said he, " a monstrous wolf 
in the neighbouring forest, extremely ferocious, and destructive 
to my property. I have frequently endeavoured to hunt him 
down, but without success. If Mabrin . can destroy the 
animal, I will give him my daughter." When these conditions 
were communicated to Mabrin, he considered it impossible that 
they could be fulfilled, and looked upon the proposal as an 
evasion of the question. One day, however, the ferryman 
having heard of Mabrin's disappointment, told him that there 
was no reason to despair, for he knew a young man, married to 
one of the king's daughters, who crossed the river every day, 
and though only a pedestrian, brought home regularly an elk- 
deer on his back. " He is truly," added he, " a wonderful 
youth, and if you can by any means secure his assistance, I 
have no doubt but that his activity and strength will soon put 
an end to the wolf's depredations, by depriving him of life." 

This intelligence was received with great pleasure by Mabrin, 
who hastened to Gushtdsp, and described to him his situation, 
and the conditions required. Gushtclsp in reply said, that he 
would be glad to accomplish for him the object of his desires, and 
afc an appointed time proceeded towards the forest, accompanied 
by Mabriu and the ferryman. When the party arrived at the 
borders of the wilderness which the wolf frequented, Gushtasp 
left his companions behind, and advanced alone into the in- 


terior, where he soon fouud the dreadful monster, in size larger 
than an elephant, and howling terribly, ready to spring upon 
him. But the hand and eye of Gushtasp were too active to 
allow of his being surprised, and in an instant he shot two 
arrows at once into the foaming beast, which, irritated by the 
deep wound, now rushed furiously upon him, without, however, 
doing him any serious injury ; then with the rapidity of 
lightning, Gushtasp drew his sharp sword, with one tremendous 
stroke cut the wolf in two, deluging the ground with bubbling 
blood. Having performed this prodigious exploit, he called 
Mabrin and the ferryman to see what he had done, and they 
were amazed at his extraordinary intrepidity and muscular 
power, but requested, in order that the special object of the 
lover might be obtained, that he would conceal his name, for a 
time at least. Mabrin, satisfied on this point, then repaired to 
the emperor, and claimed his promised bride, as the reward for 
his labour. The king of Riim little expected this result, and 
to assure himself of the truth of what he had heard, bent his 
way to the forest, where he was convinced, seeing with as- 
tonishment and delight that the wolf was really killed. He 
had now no further pretext, and therefore fulfilled his engage- 
ment, by giving his daughter to Mabrin. 

It was now Ahrun's turn to repeat his solicitations for the 
youngest daughter. The king of Rum had another evil to 
root out, so that he was prepared to propose another condition. 
This was to destroy a hideous dragon that had taken possession 
of a neighbouring mountain. Ahrun, on hearing the con- 
dition was in as deep distress as Mabrin had been, until he 
accidentally became acquainted with the ferryman, who de- 
scribed to him the generosity and fearless bravery of Gushtasp. 
He immediately applied to him, and the youth readily under- 
took the enterprise, saying : " No doubt the monster's teeth 
are long and sharp, bring me therefore a dagger, and fasten 
round it a number of knives." Ahrun did so accordingly, and 
Gushtasp proceeded to the mountain. As soon as the drag-on 
smelt the approach of a human being, flame-s issued from his 


nostrils, and he darted forward to devour the intruder, but was 
driven back by a number of arrows, rapidly discharged into 
his head and mouth. Again he advanced, but Gushtasp 
dodged round him, and continued driving arrows into him to 
the extent of forty, which subdued his strength, and made him 
writhe in agony. He then fixed the dagger, which was armed 
at right angles with knives, upon his spear, and going nearer, 
thrust ifc down his gasping throat 

Dreadful the weapon, each two-edged blade 
Cut deep into the jaws on either side, 
And the fierce monster, thinking to dislodge it, 
Crushed it between his teeth with all his strength, 
Which pressed it deeper in the flesh, when blood 
And poison issued from the gaping wounds ; 
Then, as he floundered on the earth exhausted, 
Seizing the fragment of a flinty rock, 
Gushtasp beat out the brains, and soon the beast 
In terrible struggles died. Two deadly f sings 
Then wrenched he from the jaws, to testify 
The wonderful exploit he had performed. 

When he descended from the mountain, these two teeth were 
delivered to Ahrun, and they were afterwards conveyed to the 
king, who could not believe his own eyes, but ascended the 
mountain himself to ascertain the fact, and there he beheld 
with amazement the dragon lifeless, and covered with blood. 
"And didst thou thyself kill this terrific dragon?" said he. 
"Yes," replied Ahrun. "And wilt thou swear to God that 
this is thy own achievement ? It must be either the exploit of 
a demon, or of a certain Kaiiinian, who resides in this neigh- 
bourhood." But there was no one to disprove his assertion, 
and therefore the king could no longer refuse to surrender to 
him his youngest daughter. 

And now between Gushtasp, and Mabrin, and Ahrun, the 
warmest friendship subsisted. Indeed they were seldom parted ; 
and the three sisters remained together with equal affection. 
One day Kitabtin, the wife of Gushtiisp, in conversation with 
some of her female acquaintance, let out the secret that her 
husband was the person who killed the wolf and the dragon. 


No sooner was this story told, than it spread, and in the end 
reached the ears of the queen, who immediately communicated 
it to the king, saying : " This is the work of Gushtasp, thy 
son-in-law, of him thou hast banished from thy presence of 
him who nobly would not disclose his name, before Mabrin and 
Ahrun had attained the object of their wishes." The king said 
in reply that it was just as he had suspected ; and sending for 
Gushtasp, conferred upon him great honour, and appointed him 
to the chief command of his army. 

Having thus possessed himself of a leader of such skill and 
intrepidity, he thought it necessary to turn his attention to 
external conquest, and accordingly addressed a letter to Alias, 
the ruler of Khuz, in which he said : " Thou hast hitherto 
enjoyed thy kingdom in peace and tranquillity ; but thou must 
now resign it to me, or prepare for war." Alias on receiving 
this imperious and haughty menace collected his forces together, 
and advanced to the contest, and the king of Rum assembled 
his own troops with equal expedition, under the direction of 
Gushtasp. The battle was fought with great valour on both 
sides, and blood flowed in torrents. Gushtasp challenged Alias 
to single combat, and the warriors met ; but in a short time 
the enemy was thrown from his horse, and dragged by the 
young conqueror, in fetters, before the king. The troops wit- 
nessing the pro\vess of Gushtasp, quickly fled ; and the king 
commencing a hot pursuit, soon entered their city victoriously, 
subdued the whole kingdom, and plundered it of all its property 
and wealth. He also gained over the army, and with this 
powerful addition to his own forces, and with the booty he had 
secured, returned triumphantly to Rum. 

In consequence of this brilliant success, the king conferred 
additional honours on Gushtasp, who now began to display the 
ambition which he had long cherished. Aspiring to the sove- 
reignty of Iran, he spoke to the Rumi warriors on the subject 
of an invasion of that country, but they refused to enter into 
his schemes, conceiving that there was no chance of success. 
At this Gushtasp took fire, and declared that he knew the 


power and resources of his father perfectly, and that the con- 
quest would be attended with no difficulty. He then went to 
the king, and said : " Thy chiefs are afraid to fight against 
Lohurasp ; I will myself undertake the task with even an in- 
considerable army." The king was overjoyed, and kissed his 
head and face, and loaded him with presents, and ordered his 
secretary to write to Lohurasp in the following terms : " I am 
anxious to meet thee in battle, but if thou art not disposed to 
fight, I will permit thee to remain at peace, on condition of 
surrendering to me half thy kingdom. Should this be refused, 
I will myself deprive thee of the whole sovereignty." When 
this letter was conveyed by the hands of Kabiis to Iran, Lohu- 
nisp, upon reading it, was moved to laughter, and exclaimed, 
" What is all this ? The king of Rum has happened to obtain 
possession of the little kingdom of Khuz, and he has become 
insane with pride ! " He then asked Kabiis by what means he 
accomplished the capture of Khuz, and how he managed to kill 
Alias. The messenger replied, that his success was owing to a 
youth of noble aspect and invincible courage, who had first 
destroyed a ferocious wolf, then a dragon, and had afterwards 
dragged Alias from his horse, with as much ease as if he had 
been a chicken, and laid him prostrate at the feet of the king 
of Rum. Lohurasp enquired his name, and he answered, 
Gushtasp. " Does he resemble in feature any person in this 
assembly ? " Kabiis looked round about him, and pointed to 
Zarir, from which Lohurasp concluded that it must be his own 
son, and sat silent. But he soon determined on what answer 
to send, and it was contained in the following words : " Do not 
take me for an Alias, nor think that one hero of thine is com- 
petent to oppose me. I have a hundred equal to him. Con- 
tinue, therefore, to pay me tribute, or I will lay waste thy whole 
country." With this letter he dismissed Kabiis ; and as soon 
as the messenger had departed, addressed himself to Zarir, say- 
ing : " Thou must go in the character of an ambassador from 
me to the king of Ruin, and represent to him the justice and 
propriety of preserving peace. After thy conference with him 


repair to the house of Gushtasp, and in my name ask his for- 
giveness for what I have done. I was not before aware of his 
merit, and day and night I think of him with repentance and 
sorrow. Tell him to pardon his old father's infirmities, and 
come back to Iran, to his own country and home, that I may 
resign to him my crown and throne, and like Kai-khosrati, take 
leave of the world. It is my desire to deliver myself up to 
prayer and devotion, and to appoint Gushtasp my successor, for 
he appears to be eminently worthy of that honour." Zarir 
acted scrupulously, in conformity with his instructions ; and 
having first had an interview with the king, hastened to the 
house of his brother, by whom he was received with affection 
and gladness. After the usual interchange of congratulations 
and enquiry, he stated to him the views and the resolutions of 
his father, who on the faith of his royal word promised to 
appoint him his successor, and thought of him with the most 
cordial attachment. Gushtasp was as much astonished as de- 
lighted with this information, and his anxiety being great to 
return to his own country, he that very night, accompanied by 
his wife Kitabiin, and Zarir, set out for Iran. Approaching the 
city, he was met by an istakbal, or honorary deputation of 
warriors, sent by the king ; and when he arrived at court, 
Lohurasp descended from his throne and embraced him with 
paternal affection, shedding tears of contrition for having pre- 
viously treated him not only with neglect but severity. How- 
ever he now made him ample atonement, and ordering a golden 
chair of royalty to be constructed and placed close to his own, 
they both sat together, and the people by command tendered to 
him unanimously their respect and allegiance. Lohurasp re- 
peatedly said to him : 

" What has been done was Fate's decree, 
Man cannot strive with destiny. 
To be unfeeling once was mine, 
At length to be a sovereign thine." 

Thus spoke the king, and kissed the crown, 
And gave it to his valiant son. 


Soon afterwards he relinquished all authority in the empire, 
assumed the coarse habit of a recluse, and retired to a celebrated ; 
place of pilgrimage in those days near Balkh. There, in a- 
solitary cell, he devoted the remainder of his life to prayer and 
the worship of God. The period of Lohurasp's government 
lasted one hundred and twenty years. 


I've said preceding sovereigns worshipped God, 

By whom their crowns were given to protect 

The people from oppressors ; Him they served, 

Acknowledging His goodness for to Him, 

The pure, unchangeable, the Holy One t 

They owed their greatness and their earthly power, 

But after times produced idolatry, 

And Pagan faith, and then His name was lost 

In adoration of created things. 

Gushtiisp had by his wife Kitabun, the daughter of the king 
of Rtiin, two sons named Isfendiyar and Bashutan, who were 
remarkable for their piety and devotion to the Almighty. 
Being the great king, all the minor sovereigns paid him 
tribute, excepting Arjasp, the ruler of Chin and Ma-chin, 
whose army consisted of Diws, and Peris, and men ; for con- 
sidering him of superior importance, he sent him yearly the 
usual tributary present. In those days lived Zerdusht, the 
Guber, who was highly accomplished in the knowledge of 
divine things ; and having waited upon GushMsp, the king, 
became greatly pleased with his learning and piety, and took 
him into his confidence. The philosopher explained to him the 
doctrines of the fire-worshippers, and by his art he reared a 
tree before the house of Gushtasp, beautiful in its foliage and 
branches, and whoever ate of the leaves of that tree became 


learned and accomplished in the mysteries of the future world, 
and those who ate of the fruit thereof became perfect in wisdom 
and holiness. 

Jn consequence of the illness of Lohurasp, who was nearly at 
the point of death, Zerdusht went to Balkh for the purpose of 
administering relief to him, and he happily succeeded in restor- 
ing him to health. On his return he was received with addi- 
tional favour by Gushtasp, who immediately afterwards became 
his disciple. Zerdusht then told him that he was the prophet 
of God, and promised to show him miracles. He said he had 
been to heaven and to hell. He could send any one, by prayer, 
to heaven ; and whomsoever he was angry with he could send 
to hell. He had seen the seven mansions of the celestial 
regions, and the thrones of sapphires, and all the secrets of 
heaven were made known to him by his attendant angel. He 
said that the sacred book, called Zendavesta, descended from 
above expressly for him, and that if Gushtasp followed the 
precepts in that blessed volume, he would attain celestial 
felicity. Gushtasp readily became a convert to his principles, 
forsaking the pure adoration of God for the religion of the fire- 
worshippers. The philosopher further said that he had pre- 
pared a ladder, by which he had ascended into heaven and had 
seen the Almighty. This made the disciple still more obedient 
to Zerdusht. One day he asked Gushtasp why he condescended 
to pay tribute to Arjasp ; " God is on thy side," said he, " and 
if thou desirest an extension of territory, the whole country of 
Chin may be easily conquered." Gushtasp felt ashamed at this 
reproof, and to restore his character, sent a dispatch to Arjasp, 
in which he said, " Former kings who paid thee tribute did sc 
from terror only, but now the - empire is mine ; and it is my 
will, and I have the power, to resist the payment of it in 
future." This letter gave great offence to Arjasp ; who at once 
suspected that the fire-worshipper, Zerdusht, had poisoned his 
mind, and seduced him from his pure and ancient religion, and 
was attempting to circumvent and lead him to his ruin. He 
answered him ihus ; " It is well known that thou hast now 


forsaken the right path, and involved thyself in darkness. 
Thou hast chosen a guide possessed of the attributes of Iblis, 
who with the art of a magician has seduced thee from tho 
worship of the true God, from that God who gave thce thy 
kingdom and thy grandeur. Thy father feared God, and 
became a holy Dirvesh, whilst thou hast lost thy way in 
wickedness and impiety. It will therefore be a meritorious 
action in me to vindicate the true worship and oppose thy 
blasphemous career with all my demons. In a month or two 
I will enter thy kingdom with fire and sword, and destroy thy 
authority and thee. I would give thee good advice ; do not be 
influenced by a wicked counsellor, but return to thy former 
religious practices. Weigh well, therefore, what I say." Arjasp 
sent this letter by two of his demons, familiar with sorcery ; 
and when it was delivered into the hands of Gushtasp, a council 
was held to consider its contents, to which Zerdusht was im- 
mediately summoned. Jamiisp, the minister, said that the sub- 
ject required deep thought, and great prudence was necessary 
in framing a reply ; but Zerdusht observed, that the only reply 
was obvious nothing but war could be thought of. At this 
moment Isfendiyar gallantly offered to lead the army, but Zarir, 
his uncle, objected to him on account of his extreme youth, and 
proposed to take the command himself, which Gushtasp agreed 
to, and the two demon-envoys were dismissed. The answer was 
briefly as follows : 

" Thy boast is that thou wilt in two short months 

Ravage my country, scathe with fire and sword 

The empire of Iran ; but on thyself 

Heap not destruction ; pause before thy pride 

Hurries thee to thy ruin. I will open 

The countless treasures of the realm ; my warriors, 

A thousand thousand, armed with shining steel, 

Shall over-run thy kingdom ; I myself 

Will crush that head of thine beneath my feet." 

The result of these menaces was the immediate prosecution 
of the war, and no time was lost by Arjasp in hastening into 
T van. 

a 2 


Plunder and devastation marked his course, 

The villages were all involved in flames. 

Palace of pride, low cot, and lofty tower ; 

The trees dug up, and root and branch destroyed. 

Gushtasp then hastened to repel his foes; 

But to his legions they seemed wild and strange, 

And terrible in aspect, and no light 

Could struggle through the gloom they had diffused, 

To hide their progress. 

Zerdusht said to Gushtasp, "Ask thy vizir, Jarmlsp, what is 
written in thy horoscope, that he may relate to thce the dis- 
pensations of heaven." Jamasp, in reply to the inquiry, took 
the king aside and whispered softly to him: "A great 
number of thy brethren, thy relations, and warriors will be slain 
in the conflict, but in the end thou wilt be victorious." G-ush- 
tiisp deeply lamented the coming event, which involved the 
destruction of his kinsmen, but did not shrink from the battle, 
for he exulted in the anticipation of obtaining the victory. 
The contest was begun with indescribable eagerness and 

Approaching, each a prayer addrcst 
To Heaven, and thundering forward prcst ; 
Thick showers of arrows gloomed the sky, 
The battle-storm raged long and high ; 
Above, black clouds their darkness spread, 
Below, the earth Avith blood was red. 

Ardshir, the son of Lohurasp, and descended from Kai-kuus, 
was one of the first to engage ; he killed many, and was at lasi 
killed himself. After him, his brother Shydasp was killed. 
Then Bishu, the son of Jamasp, urged on his steed, and with 
consummate bravery destroyed "a great number of warriors. 
Zarir, equally bold and in trepid, also rushed amidst the host, 
and whether demons or men opposed him, they were all laid 
lifeless on the field. He then rode up towards Arjasp, 
scattered the ranks, and penetrated the head-quarters, which 
put the king into great alarm : for he exclaimed : " What, 
have ye no courage, no shame ! whoever kills Zarir shall have 
a magnificent reward." Bai-derafsh, one of the demons, 


animated by this offer, came forward, and with remorseless fury 
attacked Zarir. The onset was irresistible, and the young 
prince was soon overthrown and bathed in his own blood. The 
news of the unfortunate catastrophe deeply affected Gushtasp, 
who cried, in great grief : " Is there no one to take vengeance for 
this ? " when Isfendiyiir presented himself, kissed the ground 
before his father, and anxiously asked permission to engage the 
demon. Gushtasp assented, and told him that if he killed the 
demon and defeated the enemy, he would surrender to him his 
crown and throne. 

" When we from this destructive field return, 
Jsfcndiyar, my son, shall wear the crown. 
And be the glorious leader of my armies.'' 

Saying this, he dismounted from his famous black horse, 
called Behzad, the gift of Kai-khosrau, and presented it to 
Isfendiyiir. The greatest clamour and lamentation had 
arisen among the Persian army, for they thought that Bai- 
derafsh had committed such dreadful slaughter, the moment of 
utter defeat was at hand, when Isfendiyiir galloped forward, 
mounted on Behzad, and turned the fortunes of the day. He 
saw the demon with the mail of Zarir on his breast, foaming 
at the mouth with rage, and called aloud to him, "Stand, 
thou murderer ! " The stern voice, the valour, and majesty of 
Isfendiyiir, made the demon tremble, but he immediately dis- 
charged a blow with his dagger at his new opponent, who however 
seized the weapon with his left hand, and with his right 
plunged a spear into the monster's breast, and drove it through 
his body, Isfendiyiir then cut off his head, remounted his 
horse, and that instant was by the side of Bishu, the son of the 
vizir, into whose charge he gave the severed head of Bai- 
derafsh, and the armour of Zarir. Bishu now attired himself in 
his father's mail, and fastening the head on his horse, declared 
that he would take his post close by Isfendiyiir, whatever might 
betide. Firshaid, another Iranian warrior, came to the spot at 
the same moment, and expressed tbc same resolution, so that alJ 


three, thus accidentally met, determined to encounter Arjasp 
and capture him. Isfcndiyilr led the way, and the other two 
followed. Arjtisp, seeing that he was singled out by three 
warriors, and that the enemy's force was also advancing to the 
attack in great numbers, gave up the struggle, and was the first 
to retreat. His troops soon threw away their arms and begged 
for quarter, and many of them were taken prisoners by tho 
Iranians. Gushtasp now approached the dead body of Zarir, 
his son, and lamenting deeply over his unhappy fate, placed 
him in a coffin, and built over him a lofty monument, around 
frhich lights were ever afterwards kept burning, night and day ; 
and he also taught the people the worship of fire, and was anxious 
to establish everywhere the religion of Zerdusht. 

Jamasp appointed officers to ascertain the number of killed 
in the battle. Of Iranians there were thirty thousand, among 
whom were eight hundred chiefs ; and the enemy's loss 
amounted to nine hundred thousand, and also eleven hundred 
and sixty-three chiefs. Gushtasp rejoiced at the glorious 
result, and ordered the drums to be sounded to celebrate the 
victory, and he increased his favour upon Zerdusht, who 
originated the war, and told him to call his triumphant son, 
Isfendiyar, near him. 

The gallant youth the summons hears, 
And midst the royal court appears, 

Close by his father's side, 
The mace, cow-beaded, in his hand ; 
His air and glance express command, 

And military pride. 

Gushtasp beholds with heart elate, 
The conqueror so young, so great, 

And places round his brows the crown, 
The promised crown, the high reward, 
1'roud token of a mighty king's regard, 

Conferred upon his own. 

After Gushtasp had crowned his son as his successor, he told 
hi:u that he must not now waste his time in peace and private 


gratification, but proceed to the conquest of other countries. 
Zcrdusht was also deeply interested in his further operations, 
and recommended him. to subdue kingdoms for the purpose of 
diffusing everywhere the new religion, that the whole world 
might be enlightened and edified. Isfendiyar instantly com- 
plied, and the first kingdom he invaded was Rum. The sove- 
reign of that country having no power nor means to resist the 
incursions of the enemy, readily adopted the faith of Zer- 
dusht, and accepted the sacred book named Zendavesta, as 
his spiritual instructor. Isfendiyar afterwards invaded Hin- 
dustan and Arabia, and several other countries, and success- 
fully established the religion of the fire-worshippers in 
them all. 

Where'er he went he ,was received 
With welcome, all the world believed, 
And all with grateful feelings took 
The Holy Zendavesta-book, 
Proud their new worship to declare, 
The worship of Isfendiyar. 

The young conqueror communicated by letters to his father 
the success Avith which he had disseminated the religion of 
Zcrdusht, and requested to know what other enterprises re- 
quired his aid. Gushtasp rejoiced exceedingly, and com- 
manded a grand banquet to be prepared. It happened that 
Gurzam a warrior, was particularly befriended by the king, but 
retaining secretly in his heart a bitter enmity to Isfendiyar, 
now took an opportunity to gratify his malice, and privately 
told Gushtasp that he had heard something highly atrocious in 
the disposition of the prince. Gushtasp was anxious to know 
what it was ; and he said, " Isfendiyar has subdued almost 
every country in the world : he is a dangerous person at the 
head of an immense army, and at this very moment meditates 
taking Balkh, and making even thee his prisoner ! 

Thou know'st not that thy son Isfcudiyar 
Is hated by the army. It is said 
Ambition fires his brain, and to secure 


The empire to himself, his wicked aim 

Is to rebel against his generous father. 

This is the sum of my intelligence ; 

But thou'rt the king, I speak but what I hear." 

These malicious accusations by Gurzam insidiously made, 
produced great vexation in the mind of Gushtasp. The 
banquet went on, and for three days he drank wine incessantly, 
without sleep or rest because his sorrow was extreme. On the 
fourth day he said to his minister : " Go with this letter to 
Isfendiyjir, and accompany him hither to me." Jamasp, the 
minister, went accordingly on the mission, and when he 
arrived, the prince said to him, " I have dreamt that my father 
is angry with me." " Then thy dream is true," replied 
Jamasp, "thy father is indeed angry with thec." "What 
crime, what fault have I committed ? 

Is it because I have with ceaseless toil 
Spread wide the Zendavesta, and converted 
Whole kingdoms to that faith 1 Is it because 
For him I conquered those far-distant kingdoms, 
With this good sword of mine? Why clouds his brow 
Upon his son some demon must have changed 
His temper, once affectionate and kind, 
Calling me to him thus in anger ! Thou 
Hast ever been my friend, my valued friend 
Say, must I go? Thy counsel I require." 

" The son does wrong who disobeys his father, 
Despising his command," Jamasp replied. 

" Yet," said Isfendiyar, "why should I go ? 
He is in wrath, it cannot be for good." 

" Know'st thou not that a father's wrath is kindness 1 

The anger of a father to his child 

Is far more precious than the love and fondness 

Felt by that child for him. 'Tis good to go, 

Whatever the result, he is the king, 

And more he is thy father ! " 

Isfendiyar immediately consented, and appointed Bahman, 
his eldest son, to fill his place in the army during his absence. 
He had four sons : the name of the second was Mihrbus : of the 


third, Avir ; and of the fourth, Nushahder ; and these three 
lie took along with him on his journey. 

Before he had arrived at Balkh, Gushtitsp had concerted 
measures to secure him as a prisoner, with an appearance of 
justice and impartiality. On his arrival, he waited on the 
king respectfully, and was thus received : " Thou hast become 
the great king ! Thou, hast conquered many countries, but 
why am I unworthy in thy sight ? Thy ambition is indeed 
excessive." Isfendiyar replied : " However great I may be, I 
am still thy servant, and wholly at thy command." Upon 
hearing this, Gushtasp turned towards his courtiers, and said, 
" What ought to be done with that son, who in the lifetime of 
his father usurps his authority, and even attempts to eclipse 
him in grandeur ? What ! I ask, should be done with such 
a son ! " 

" Such a son should either be 
Broken on the felon tree, 
Or in prison bound with chains, 
Whilst his wicked life remains, 
Else thyself, this kingdom, all 
Will be ruined by his thrall ! " 

To this heavy denunciation Isfendiyar replied : " I have 
received all my honours from the king, by whom I am appointed 
to succeed to the throne ; but at his pleasure I willingly resign 
them." However, concession and remonstrance were equal!/ 
fruitless, and he was straightway ordered to be confined in the 
tower-prison of the fort situated on the adjacent mountain, and 
secured with chains. 

Dreadful the sentence : all \vlio saw him wept ; 
And sternly they conveyed him to the tower. 
Where to four columns, deeply fixed in earth, 
And reaching to the skies, of iron formed, 
They bound him ; merciless they were to him 
Who had given splendour to a mighty throne. 
Mournful vicissitude ! Thus pain and pleasure 
Successive charm and tear the heart of man ; 
And many a day in that drear solitude. 
He lingered, shedding tears of blood, till times 
Of happier omen dawned upon his fortunes. 


Having thus made Isfendiyar secure in the mountain-prison, 
and being entirely at ease about the internal safety of the 
empire, Gushtasp was anxious to pay a visit to Zal and Rustem 
at Sistiin, and to convert them to the religion of Zcrdusht. 
On his approach to Sistan he was met and respectfully welcomed 
by Rustein, who afterwards in open assembly received the 
Zendavesta and adopted the new faith, which he propagated 
throughout his own territory ; but, according to common report 
it was fear of Gushtitsp alone which induced him to pursue this 
course. Gushtasp remained two years his guest, enjoying all 
kinds of recreation, and particularly the sports of the field and 
the forests. 

When Bahman, the son of Isfendiyar, heard of the imprison- 
ment of his father, he, in grief and alarm, abandoned his trust, 
dismissed the army, and proceeded to Balkh, where he joined 
his two brothers, and wept over the fate of their unhappy 

In the mean time the news of the confinement of Isfendiyar, 
and the absence of Gushtasp at Sistan, and the unprotected 
state of Balkh, stimulated Arjasp to a further effort, and he 
dispatched his son Kahram with a large army towards the 
capital of the enemy, to carry into effect his purpose of revenge. 
Lohurasp was still in religious retirement at Balkh. The people 
were under great apprehension, and being without a leader, 
anxiously solicited the old king to command them, but he said 
that he had abandoned all earthly concerns, and had devoted 
himself to God, and therefore could not comply with their 
entreaties. But they would hear no denial, and, as it were, 
tore him from his place of refuge and prayer. There were 
assembled only about one thousand horsemen, and with these 
he advanced to battle ; but what were they compared to the 
hundred thousand whom they met, and by whom they were 
soon surrounded. Their bravery was useless. They were at 
once overpowered and defeated, and Lohurasp himself was 
unfortunately among the slain. 

Upon the achievement of this victory, Kabram entered 


Balkh in triumph, made the people prisoners, and destroyed 
all the places of worship belonging to the Gubers. He also 
killed the keeper of the altar, and burnt the Zendavesta, which 
contained the formulary of their doctrines and belief. 

One of the Avomen of Gushtasp's household happened to 
elude the grasp of the invader, and hastened to Sistan to 
inform the king of the disaster that had occurred. "Thy 
father is killed, the city is taken, and thy women and daughters 
in the power of the conqueror." Gushtasp received the news 
with consternation, and prepared with the utmost expedition 
for his departure. He invited Rustem to accompany him, but 
the champion excused himself at the time, and afterwards 
declined altogether on the plea of sickness. Before he had 
yet arrived at Balkh, Kahram hearing of his approach, went 
out to meet him Avith his Avhole army, and was joined on the 
same clay by Arjasp and his demon-legions. 

Great was the uproar, loud the brazen drums 

And trumpets rung, the eartli shook, and seemed rent 

By that tremendous conflict, javelins flew 

Like hail on every side, and the warm blood 

Streamed from the wounded and the dying men. 

The claim of kindred did not check the arm 

Lifted in battle mercy there was none, 

For all resigned themselves to chance or fate, 

Or what the ruling Heavens might decree. 

At last the battle terminated in the defeat of Gushtasp, who 
Avas pursued till he was obliged to take refuge in a mountain- 
fort. He again consulted Jamiisp to knoAV what the stars fore- 
told, and Jarnasp replied that he would recover from the defeat 
through the exertions of 1 alone. Pleased with this 
interpretation, he on that very day sent Jarnasp to the prison 
with a letter to Isfendiyar, in AA'hich he hoped to be pardoned 
for the cruelty lie had been guilty of toAvards him, in conse- 
quence, he said, of being deceived by the arts and treachery of 
those who Averc only anxious to effect his ruin. He declared 
too that he would put those enemies to death in his presence, 
and replace the royal croAvn upon his head. At the same time 


he confined in chains Gurzam, the wretch who first practised 
upon his feelings. Jam asp rode immediately to the prison, and 
delivering the letter, urged the prince to comply with his 
father's entreaties, but Isfendiyar was incredulous and not so 
easily to be moved. 

" Has he not at heart disdained me? 
Has he not in prison chained me 1 
Am I not his son, that he 
Treats me ignominiously ? 

Why should Gurzam's scorn and hate 

Rouse a loving father's wrath ? 
Why should he, the foul ingrate. 

Cast destruction in my path ? " 

Janiiisp, however, persevered in his anxious solicitations, 
describing to him how many of his brethren and kindred had 
fallen, and also the perilous situation of his own father if he 
refused his assistance. By a thousand various efforts he at 
length effected his purpose, and the blacksmith was called to 
take off his chains ; but in removing them, the anguish of the 
wounds they had inflicted was so great that Isfendiyar fainted 
away. Upon his recovery he was escorted to the presence 
of his father, who received him with open arms, and the 
strongest expressions of delight. He begged to be forgiven 
for his unnatural conduct to him, again resigned to him the 
throne of the empire, and appointed him to the command of 
the imperial armies. He then directed Gurzam, upon whose 
malicious counsel he had acted, to be brought before him, and 
the wicked minister was punished with death on the spot, and 
in the presence of the injured prince. 

Wretch I more relentless even than wolf or ,pard. 
Thou hast at length received thy just reward ! 

When Arjasp heard that Isfendiyar had been reconciled to 
his father, and was approaching at the head of an immense 
army, he was affected with the deepest concern, and forthwith 


sent his son Kahram to endeavour to resist the progTess of the 
enemy. At the same time Kurugsar, a gladiator of the demon 
race, requested that he might be allowed to oppose Isfendiyar ; 
and permission being granted, he was the very first on the 
field, where instantly wielding his bow, he shot an arrow at 
Isfendiyar, which pierced through the mail, but fortunately for 
him did no serious harm. The priuco drew his sword with the 
intention of attacking him, but seeing him furious with rage, 
and being doubtful of the issue, thought it more prudent and 
safe to try his success with the noose. Accordingly he took 
the kamund from his saddle-strap, and dexterously flung it 
round the neck of his arrogant foe, who was pulled headlong 
from his horse ; and, as soon as his arms were bound behind 
his back, dragged a prisoner in front of the Persian ranks. 
Isfendiyar then returned to the battle, attacked a body of the 
enemy's auxiliaries, killed a hundred and sixty of their warriors, 
and made the division of which Kahram was the leader fly in 
all directions. His next feat was to attack another force, which 
had confederated against him. 

With slackened rein he galloped o'er the field ; 
Blood gushed from every stroke of his sharp swcrtl, 
And reddened all the plain ; a hundred warriors 
Eighty and five, in treasure rich and mail, 
Sunk underneath him. such his mighty power. 

His remaining object was to assail the centre, where Arjasp 
himself was stationed ; and thither he rapidly hastened. 
Arjasp, angry and alarmed at this success, cried out, " "What ! 
is one man allowed to scathe all my ranks, cannot my whole 
army put an end to his dreadful career ? " The soldiers 
replied, " No ! he has a body of brass, and the vigour of an 
elephant: our swords make no impression upon him, whilst 
with his sword he can cut the body of a warrior, cased in 
mail, in two, with the greatest case. Against such a foe, whal 
can we do ? " Isfcndiyiir rushed on ; and after an over- 
whelming attack, Arjasp was compelled to quit his ground and 


effect his escape. The Iranian troops were then ordered to 
pursue the fugitives, and in revenge for the death of Lohimisp, 
not to leave a man alive. The carnage was in consequence 
terrible, and the remaining Turanians were in such despair 
that they flung themselves from their exhausted horses, and 
placing straw in their mouths to show the extremity of their 
misfortune, called aloud for quarter. Isfendiyar was moved 
at last to compassion, and put an end to the fight ; and when 
he came before Gushtasp, the mail on his body, from the number 
of arrows sticking in it. looked like a field of reeds ; about a 
thousand arrows were taken out of its folds. Gushtasp kissed 
his head and face, and blessed him, and prepared a grand 
banquet, and the city of Balkh resounded with rejoicings on 
account of the great victory. 

Many days had not elapsed before a farther enterprise was 
to be undertaken. The sisters of Isfendiyar were still in con- 
finement, and required to be released. The prince readily 
complied with the wishes of Gushtasp, who now repeated to 
him his desire to relinquish the cares of sovereignty, and place 
the reins of government in his hands, that he might devote 
himself entirely to the service of God. 

" To thee I yield the crown and throne, 
Fit to be held by thee alone ; 
From worldly care and trouble free, 
A hermit's cell is enough for me." 

But Isfendiyar replied, that he had no desire to be possessed 
of the power ; he rather wished for the prosperity of the king, 
and no change. 

0, may thy life be long and blessed, 
And ever by the good caressed ; 
For 'tis my duty still to be 
Devoted faithfully to thee ! 
I want no throne, nor diadem ; 
My soul has no delight in them. 
I only seek to give thee joy, 
And gloriously my sword employ. 


I thirst for vengeance ou Arjasp : 
To crush him in my iron grasp, 
That from his thrall I may restore 
My sisters to their home again, 
Who now their heavy fate deplore, 
And toiling drag a slavish chain." 
" Then go ! " the smiling monarch said, 
Invoking blessings on his head, 
" And may kind Heaven thy refuge be, 
And lead thee on to victory." 

lafcndiyiir now told his father that his prisoner Kurngsar 
was continually requesting him to represent his condition in the 
royal ear, saying, " Of what use will it he to put me to death ? 
No benefit can arise from such a punishment. Spare my life, 
and you will see how largely I am able to contribute to your 
assistance." Gushtasp expressed his willingness to be merciful, 
but demanded a guarantee on oath from the petitioner that he 
would heart and soul be true and faithful to his benefactor. 
The oath was sworn, after which his bonds were taken from his 
hands and feet, and he was set at liberty. The king then 
called him, and pressed him with goblets of wine, which made 
him merry. " I have pardoned thee," said Gushtasp, " at the 
special entreaty of Isfendiyar be grateful to him, and be 
attentive to his commands." After that, Isfendiyar took and 
conveyed him to his own house, that he might have an oppor- 
tunity of experiencing and proving the promised fidelity of his 
new ally. 


Rustem had seven great labours, wondrous power 
Nerved his strong arm in danger's needful hour ; 
And now Firdausi's legend-strains declare 
The seven great labours of Isfendiyar. 

The prince, who had determined to undertake the new expo- 


dition, and appeared confident of success, now addressed him- 
self to Kurugsar, and said, " If I conquer the kingdom of 
Arjiisp, and restore my sisters to liberty, thou shalt have for 
thyself any principality thou mayst choose within the boun- 
daries of Iran and Tiirau, and thy name shall be exalted ; but 
beware of treachery or fraud, for falsehood shall certainly bo 
punished with death." To this Kurugsar replied, " I have 
already sworn a solemn oath to the king, and at thy interces- 
sion he has spared my life why then should I depart from the 
truth, and betray my benefactor ? " 

" Then tell me the road to the brazen fortress, and how far 
it is distant from this place ? " said Isfendiyar. 

" There are three different routes," replied Kurugsar. " One 
will occupy three months ; it leads through a beautiful country, 
adorned with cities, and gardens, and pastures, and is pleasant 
to the traveller. The second is less attractive, the prospects 
less agreeable, and will only employ two months ; the third, 
however, may be accomplished m seven days, and is thence 
called the Heft-khan, or seven stages ; but at every stage some 
monster, or terrible difficulty, must be overcome. No monarch, 
even supported by a large army, has ever yet ventured to pro- 
ceed by this route ; and if it is ever attempted, the whole party 
will be assuredly lost. 

Nor strength, nor juggling, nor the sorcerer's art 
Can help him safely through that awful path, 
Beset with wolves and dragons, wild and fierce, 
From whom the fleetest have no power to fly. 
There an enchantress, doubly armed with spells, 
The most accomplished of that magic brood, 
Spreads wide her snares to charm and to destroy, 
And ills of every shape, and horrid aspect, 
Cross the tired traveller at eveiy step." 

At this description of the terrors of the Heft-khan, Isfendiyar 
became thoughtful for a while, and then, resigning himself to 
the providence of God, resolved to take the shortest route. 
" No man can die before his time," said he ; " heaven is my 
protector, and I will fearlessly encounter every difficulty on the 


road." " It is full of perils," replied Kurugsar, and endeavoured 
to dissuade him from the enterprise. " But with the blessing 
of God," rejoined Isfeudiyar, " it will be easy." The prince 
then ordered a sumptuous banquet to be served, at which he 
gave Kurugsar abundant draughts of wine, and even in a state 
of intoxication the demon-guide still warned him against his 
proposed journey. " Go by the route which takes two months," 
said he, " for that will be convenient and safe ; " but Isfendiyar 
replied : " I neither fear the difficulties of the route, nor the 
perils thou hast described." 

And though destruction spoke in every word, 

Enough to terrify the stoutest heart, 

Still he adhered to what he first resolved. 

" Thou wilt attend me," said the dauntless prince ; 

And thus Kurugsar, without a pause, replied : 

" Undoubtedly, if by the two months' way, 

And do thee ample service ; but if this 

Heft-khan be thy election ; if thy choice 

Be fixed on that which leads to certain death, 

My presence must be useless. Can I go 

Where bird has never dared to wing its flight 1 " 

Isfendiyar, upon hearing these words, began to suspect the 
fidelity of Kurugsar, and thought it safe to bind him in chains. 
The next day as he was going to take leave of his father, 
Kurugsar called out to him, and said : " After my promises of 
allegiance, and my solemn oath, why am I thus kept in chains ? " 
" Not out of anger assuredly ; but out of compassion and kind- 
ness, in order that I may take thee along with me on the enter- 
prise of the Heft-khan ; for wert thou not bound, thy faint 
heart might induce thee to run away. 

Safe thou art when bound in chains, 

Fettered foot can never fly. 
Whilst thy body here remains. 

We may on thy faith rely. 
Terror will in vain assail thee ; 
For these bonds shall never fail thee. 
G uirded by a potent charm, 

will keep thee free from harm," 


IsfendiyaY having received the parting benediction of Gush- 
tdsp, was supplied with a force consisting of twelve thousand 
chosen horsemen, and abundance of treasure, to enable him to 
proceed on his enterprise, and conquer the kingdom of Arjasp. 

FIEST STAGE. Isfendiyar placed Kurugsar in bonds among 
his retinue, and took with him his brother Bashiitan. But the 
demon-guide complained that he was unable to walk, and in 
consequence he was mounted on a horse, still bound, and the 
bridle given into the hands of one of the warriors. In this 
manner they proceeded, directed from time to time by Kurugsar, 
till they arrived at the uttermost limits of the kingdom, and 
entered a desert wilderness. Isfendiyar now asked what they 
would meet with, and the guide answered, " Two monstrous 
wolves are in this quarter, as large as elephants, and whose 
teeth are of immense length." The prince told his people, that 
as soon as they saw the wolves, they must at once attack them 
with arrows. The day passed away, and in the evening they 
came to a forest and a murmuring stream, when suddenly the 
two enormous wolves appeared, and rushed towards the legions 
of Isfendiydr. The people seeing them advance, poured upon 
them a shower of arrows. Several men, however, were wounded, 
but they were themselves much exhausted by the arrows which 
had penetrated their bodies. At this moment Bashiitan attacked 
one of them, and Isfendiyar the other ; and so vigorous was 
their charge, that both the monsters were soon laid lifeless in 
the dust. After this signal overthrow, Isfendiyar turned to 
Kurugsar, and exclaimed : " Thus, through the favour of 
Heaven, the first obstacle has been easily extinguished ! " " The 
guide regarded him with amazement, and said : " I am indeed 
astonished at the intrepidity and valour that has been dis- 

Seeing the bravery of Isfendiyar, 
Amazement filled the soul of Kurugsar. 

The warriors and the party now dismounted, and regaled 
themselves with feasting and wine, They then reposed till the 
following morning. 


SECOND STAGE. Proceeding on the second journey, Isfen- 
diyar inquired what might now be expected to oppose their 
progress, and Kurugsar replied : " This stage is infested bj 
lions." " Then," rejoined Isfendiyar, " thou shalt see with 
what facility I can destroy them." At about the close of the 
day they met with a lion and a lioness. Bashiitan said : 
" Take one and I will engage the other." But Isfendiyar 
observed, that the animals seemed very wild and ferocious, and 
he preferred attacking them both himself, that his brother 
might not be exposed to any harm. He first sallied forth 
against the lion, and with one mighty stroke put an end to his 
life. He then approached the lioness, which pounced upon him 
with great fury, but was soon compelled to desist, and the 
prince rapidly wielding his sword, in a moment cut off her 
head. Having thus successfully accomplished the second day's 
task, he alighted from his horse, and refreshments being spread 
out, the warriors and the troops enjoyed themselves with great 
satisfaction, exhilarated by plenteous draughts of ruby wine. 
Again Isfendiyiir addressed Kurugsar, and said : " Thou seest 
with what facility all opposition is removed, when I am assisted 
by the favour of Heaven ! " " But there are other and more 
terrible difficulties to surmount, and amazing as thy achieve- 
ments certainly have been, thou wilt have still greater exertions 
to make before thy enterprise is complete." " What is the next 
evil I have to subdue ? " " An enormous dragon, 

With power to fascinate, and from the deep 
To lure the finny tribe, his daily food. 
Fire sparkles round him ; his stupendous bulk 
Looks like a mountain. When incensed, his roar 
Makes the surrounding country shake with fear. 
White poison-foam drops from his hideous jaws, 
Which yawning wide, display a dismal gulf, 
The grave of many a hapless being, lost 
Wandering amidst that trackless wilderness." 

Kurugsar described or magnified the ferocity of the animal 
in such a way, that Isfendiyar thought it necessary to be 
cautious, and with that view he ordered a curious apparatus to 

T 2 


be constructed on wheels, something like a carriage, to which 
he fastened a large quantity of pointed instruments, and har- 
nessed horses to it to drag it on the road. He then tried its 
motion, and found it admirably calculated for his purpose. 
The people were astonished at the ingenuity of the invention, 
and lauded him to the skies. 

THIRD STAGE. Away went the prince, and having travelled 
a considerable distance, Kurugsar suddenly exclaimed : " I now 
begin to smell the stench of the dragon." Hearing this, Isfeii- 
diy;ir dismounted, ascended the machine, and shutting the door 
fast, took his seat and drove off. Bashutan and all the warriors 
upon witnessing this extraordinary act, began to weep and 
lament, thinking that he was hurrying himself to certain de- 
struction, and begged that for his own sake, as well as theirs, 
he would come out of the machine. But he replied : " Peace, 
peace ! what know ye of the matter ; " and as the warlike 
apparatus was so excellently contrived, that he could direct the 
movements of the horses himself, he drove on with increased 
velocity, till he arrived in the vicinity of the monster. 

The dragon from a distance heard 

The rumbling of the wain, 
And snuffing every breeze that stirred 

Acvoss the neighbouring plain, 

Smeli. something human in his power, 

A \velcome scent to him ; 
For he was eager to devour 

Hot recking blood, or limb. 

And darkness now is spread around, 

No pathway can be traced ; 
The fiery horses plunge and bound 

Amid the dismal waste. 

And now the dragon stretches far 

His cavern throat, and soon 
Licks in the horses and the car, 

And tries to gulp them down. 

But sword and javelin, sharp and keen, 

Wound deep each sinewy jaw ; 
Midway, remains the huge machine, 

And chokes the monster's maw. 


In agony he breathes, a dire 

Convulsion fires his blood, 
And struggling, ready to expire, 

Ejects a poison-flood 1 

And then disgorges wain and steeds, 

And swords and javelins bright ; 
Then, as the dreadful dragon bleed*, 

Up starts the warrior-knight, 

And from his place of ambush leaps, 

And, brandishing his blade, 
The weapon in the brain he steeps, 

And splits the monster's head. 

But the foul venom issuing thence, 

Is so o'erpowering found, 
Isfcndiyar, deprived of sense, 

Falls staggering to the ground ! 

Upon seeing this result, and his brother in so deplorable a 
situation, Bashutan and the troops also were in great alarm, 
apprehending the most fatal consequences. They sprinkled 
rose-water over his face, and administered other remedies, so 
that after some time he recovered ; then he bathed, purifying 
himself from the filth of the monster, and poured out prayers 
of thankfulness to the merciful Creator for the protection and 
victory he had given him. But it was matter of great grief to 
Kurugsar that Isfendiyiir had succeeded in his exploit, because 
under present circumstances, he would have to follow him in 
the remaining arduous enterprises ; whereas, if the prince had 
been slain, his obligations would have ceased for ever. 

" What may be expected to-morrow ? " inquired Isfendiyiir. 
" To-morrow," replied the demon-guide, " thou wilt meet with 
an enchantress, who can convert the stormy sea into dry land, 
and the dry land again into the ocean. She is attended by a 
gigantic ghoul, or apparition." " Then thou shalt see how 
easily this enchantress and her mysterious attendant can be 

FOUETH STAGE. On the fourth day Isfendiyar and his com- 
panions proceeded on the destined journey, and coming to a 


pleasant meadow, watered by a transparent rivulet, the party 
alighted, and they all refreshed themselves heartily with various 
kinds of food and wine. In a short space of time the enchant- 
ress appeared, most beautiful in feature and elegant in attire, 
and approaching our hero with a sad but fascinating expression 
of countenance, said to him (the ghoul, her pretended paramour, 
being at a little distance) : 

" I am a poor unhappy thing, 
The daughter of a distant king. 
This monster with deceit and fraud, 
By a fond parent's power unawcd, 
Seduced me from my royal home, 
Through wood and desert wild to roam ; 
And surely Heaven has brought thec now 
To cheer my heart, and smooth my brow, 
And free me from his loathed embrace, 
And bear me to a fitter place, 
Where, in thy circling arms more softly prcst, 
I may at last be truly loved, and blest." 

Isfendiyar immediately called her to him, and requested her 
to sit down. The enchantress readily complied, anticipating a 
successful issue to her artful stratagems ; but the intended 
victim of her sorcery was too cunning to be imposed upon. 
He soon perceived what she was, and forthwith cast his 
kamund over her, and in spite of all her entreaties, bound her, 
too fast to escape. In this extremity, she successively assumed' 
the shape of a cat, a wolf, and a decrepit old man : and so 
perfect were her transformations, that any other person would 
have been deceived, but Isfendiyar deteeted her in every variety 
of appearance ; and, vexed by -her continual attempts to cheat 
him, at last took out his sword and cut her in pieces. As soon 
as this was done, a thick dark cloud of dust and vapour arose, 
and when it subsided, a black apparition of a demon burst upon 
his sight, with flames issuing from its mouth. Determined to 
destroy this fresh antagonist, he rushed forward, sword in hand, 
and though the flames, in the attack, burnt his cloth-armour 
and dress, he succeeded in cutting off the threatening monster's 
bead. " Now," said he to Kurugsar, " thou hast seen that with 


the favour of Heaven, both enchantress and ghoul are extermi- 
nated, as well as the wolves, the lions, and the dragon." u Very 
well," replied Kurugsar, " thou hast achieved this prodigious 
labour, but to-morrow will be a heavy day, and thou canst 
hardly escape with life. To-morrow thou wilt be opposed by 
the Simurgh, whose nest is situated upon a lofty mountain. 
She has two young ones, each the size of an elephant, which 
she conveys in her beak and claws from place to place." " Be 
under no alarm," said Isfendiyir, " God will make the labour 

FIFTH STAGE. On the fifth day, Isfendiydr resumed his 
journey, travelling with his little army over desert, plain, 
mountain, and wilderness, until he reached the neighbourhood 
of the Simurgh. He then adopted the same stratagem which 
he had employed before, and the machine supplied with swords 
and spears, and drawn by horses, was soon in readiness for the 
new adventure. The Simurgh, seeing with surprise an immense 
vehicle, drawn by two horses, approach at a furious rate, and 
followed by a large company of horsemen, descended from the 
mountain, and endeavoured to take up the whole apparatus in 
her claws to carry it away to her own nest ; but her claws were 
lacerated by the sharp weapons, and she was then obliged to 
try her beak. Both beak and claws were injured in the effort, 
and the animal became extremely weakened by the loss of 
blood. Isfendiyar seizing the happy moment, sprang out of 
the carriage, and with his trenchant sword divided the Simurgh 
in two parts ; and the young ones, after witnessing the death 
of their parent, precipitately fled from the fatal scene. When 
Bashutan, with the army, came to the spot, they were amazed 
at the prodigious size of the Simurgh, and the valour by_ which 
it had been subdued. Kurugsar turned pale with astonishment 
and sorrow. " What will be our next adventure ? " said Isfen- 
diyar to him. " To-morrow more pressing ills will surround 
thee. Heavy snow will fall, and there will be a violent tempest 
of wind, and it will be wonderful if even one man of thy legions 
remains alive. That will not be like fighting against lions, a 


dragon, or the Simurgh, but against the elements, against the 
Almighty, which never can be successful. Thou hadst better, 
therefore, return unhurt." The people on hearing this warning, 
were alarmed, and proposed to go back ; " for if the advice of 
Kurugsar is not taken, we shall all perish like the companions 
of Kai-khosrau, and lie buried under drifts of snow. 

" Let us return then, whilst we may : 
Why should we throw our lives away ? " 

But Isfendiyar replied that he had already overcome five 3f 
the perils of the road, and had no fear about the remaining 
two. The people, however, were still discontented, and still 
murmured aloud ; upon which the prince said, " lie turn then, 
and I will go alone. 

I never can require the aid 
Of men so easily dismayed." 

Finding their leader immoveable, the people now changed 
their tone, and expressed their devotion to his cause ; declaring 
that whilst life remained, they would never forsake him, no 

SIXTH STAGE. On the following morning, the sixth, 
Isfendiyar continued his labours, and hurried on with great 
speed. Towards evening he arrived on the skirts of a moun- 
tain, where there was a running stream, and upon that spot, 
he pitched his tents. 

Presently from the mountain there rushed down 
. A furious storm of wind, then heavy showers 
Of snow fell, covering all the earth with whiteness, 
And making desolate the prospect round. 
Keen blew the blast, and pinching was the cold ; 
And to escape the elemental wrath, 
Leader and soldier, in the caverned rock 
Scooped out by mouldering time, took shelter, there 
Continuing three long days. Three lingering days 
Still fell the snow, and still the tempest raged, 
And man and beast grew faint for want of food. 

Isfendiyar and his wai'riors, with heads exposed, now pros- 


trated themselves in solemn prayer to the Almighty, and 
implored his favour and protection from the calamity which 
had befallen them. Happily their prayers were heard, Heaven, 
was compassionate, and in a short space the snow and the 
mig'hty wind entirely ceased. By this fortunate interference 
of Providence, the army was enabled to quit the caves of the 
mountain ; and then Isfendiyiir again addressed Kurugsar 
triumphantly : " Thus the sixth labour is accomplished. 
What have we now to fear ? " The demon-guide answered 
him and said : " From hence to the Brazen Fortress it is forty 
farsangs. That fortress is the residence of Arjasp ; but the 
road is full of peril. For three farsangs the sand on the 
ground is as hot as fire, and there is no water to be found 
during the whole journey." This information made a serious 
impression upon the mind of Isf endiyilr ; who said to him 
sternly : " If I find thee guilty of falsehood, I will assuredly put 
thee to death." Kurugsar replied : " What ! after six trials ? 
Thou hast no reason to question my veracity. I shall never 
depart from the truth, and my advice is, that thou haclst better 
return ; for the seventh stage is not to be ventured upon by 
human strength. 

Along those plains of burning sand 

Xo bird can move, nor ant, nor fly ; 
No water slakes the fiery land, 

Intensely glows the flaming sky. 

Xo tiger fierce, nor lion ever 

Could breath that pestilential air ; 
Even the unsparing vulture never 

Ventures on blood-stained pinions there. 

At the distance of three farsangs beyond this inaccessible belt 
of scorching country lies the Brazen Fortress, to which there 
is no visible path ; and if an army of a hundred thousand 
strong were to attempt its reduction, there would not be the 
least chance of success." 

SEVENTH STAGE. When Isfendiyar heard these things, 
enough to alarm the bravest heart, he turned towards his 


people to ascertain their determination ; when they unani- 
mously repeated their readiness to sacrifice their lives in his 
service, and to follow wherever he might be disposed to lead 
the way. He then pat Kurugsar in chains again, aud prose- 
cuted his journey, until he reached the place said to be covered 
with burning sand. Arrived on the spot, he observed to the 
demon-guide : " Thou hast described the sand as hot, but it is 
not so." " True ; and it is on account of the heavy showers 
of snow that have fallen and cooled the ground, a proof that 
thou art under the protection of the Almighty." Isfendiyar 
smiled, and said : " Thou art all insincerity and deception, thus 
to play upon my feelings with false or imaginary terrors." 
Saying this he urged his soldiers to pass rapidly on, so as to 
leave the sand behind them, and they presently came to a great 
river. Isfendiyar was now angry with Kurugsar, and said : 
" Thou hast declared that for the space of forty farsangs there 
was no water, every drop being everywhere dried up by the 
burning heat of the sun, and here we find water ! Why didst 
thou also idly fill the minds of my soldiers with groundless 
fears ? " Kurugsar replied : " I will confess the truth. Did I 
not swear a solemn oath to be faithful, and yet I was still 
doubted, and still confined in irons, though the experience of 
six days of trial had proved the correctness of my information 
and advice. For this reason I was disappointed and dis- 
pleased ; and I must confess that I did, therefore, exaggerate 
the dangers of the last day, in the hopes too of inducing thee to 
return and release me from my bonds. 

For what have I received from thee, 
But scorn, and chains, and slavery." 

Isfendiyar now struck off the irons from the hands and feet 
of his demon-guide and treated him with favour and kindness, 
repeating to him his promise to reward him at the close of his 
victorious career with the government of a kingdom. Kurugsar 
was grateful for this change of conduct to him, and again 
acknowledging the deception he had been guilty of, hoped for 


pardon, engaging at the same time to take the party in safety 
across the great river which had impeded their progress. This was 
accordingly done, and the Brazen Fortress was now at no great 
distance. At the close of the day they were only one farsang 
from the towers, but Isfendiytir preferred resting till the next 
morning. " What is thy counsel now ? " said he to his guide. 
" What sort of a fortress is this which fame describes in such 
dreadful colours ? " " It is stronger than imagination can con- 
ceive, and impregnable." " Then how shall I get to Arjasp ? 

How shall I cleave the oppressor's form asunder, 

The murderer of my grandsire, Lohurasp ? 

The bravest heroes of Turan shall fall 

Under my conquering sword ; their wives and children 

Led captive to Iran ; and desolation 

Scathe the whole realm beneath the tyrant's sway." 

But these words only roused and exasperated the feelings of 
Kurugsar, who bitterly replied : 

" Then may calamity be thy reward, 

Thy stars malignant, and thy life all sorrow ; 

And may'st thou perish, weltering in thy blood, 

And the bare desert be thy lonely grave 

For that inhuman thought, that cruel menace." 

Tsfendiyar, upon hearing this unexpected language, became 
furious with indignation, and instantaneously punished the 
offender on the spot ; with one stroke of his sword he cleft 
Kurugsar in twain. 

When the clouds of night had darkened the sky, Isfendiyar, 
with a number of his warriors, proceeded towards the Brazen 
Fortress, and secretly explored it on every side. He found it 
constructed entirely of iron and brass ; and, notwithstanding a 
strict examination at every point, discovered no accessible part 
for attack. It was three farsangs high, and forty wide ; and 
such a place as was never before beheld by man. 



Isfendiydr returned from reconnoitring the fortress with 
acute feelings of sorrow and despair. He was at last convinced 
that Kurugsar had spoken the truth ; for there seemed to be no 
chance whatever of taking the place by any stratagem he could 
invent. Revolving the enterprise seriously in his niind, he now 
began to repent of his folly, and the overweening confidence 
which had led him to undertake the journey. Eeturning thus 
to his tent in a melancholy mood, he saw a Fakir sitting down 
on the road, and him he anxiously accosted. " What may be 
the number of the garrison in this fort ? " " There are a 
hundred thousand veteran warriors in the service of Arjtisp in 
the fort, with abundance of supplies of every kind, and streams 
of pure water, so that nothing is wanted to foil an enemy." 
This was very unwelcome intelligence to Isfencliyar, who now 
assembled his officers to consider what was best to be done. 
They all agreed that the reduction of the fortress was utterly 
impracticable, and that the safest course for him would be to 
return. But he could not bring himself to acquiesce in this 
measure, saying : " God is almighty, and beneficent, and with 
him is the victory." He then reflected deeply and long, and 
finally determined upon entering the fort disguised as a 
merchant. Having first settled the mode of proceeding, he 
put Bashutan in temporary charge of the army, saying : 

" This Brazen Fortress scorns all feats of arms, 
Nor sword nor spear, nor battle-axe, can here 
Be wielded to advantage ; stratagem 
Must be employed, or we shall never gain 
Possession of its wide-extended walls, 
Placing my confidence in Ood alone 
I go with rich and curious wares for sale, 
To take the credulous people by surprise, 
Under the semblance of a peaceful merchant." 

Isfendiyar then directed a hundred dromedaries to be collected, 


and when they were brought to him he disposed of them in the 
following manner. He loaded ten with embroidered cloths, 
five with rubies and sapphires, and five more with pearls and 
other precious jewels. Upon each of the remaining eighty he 
placed two chests, and in each chest a warrior was secreted, 
making in all one hundred and sixty ; and one hundred more 
were disposed as camel-drivers and servants. Thus the whole 
force, consisting of a hundred dromedaries and two hundred 
and sixty warriors, set off to wards the Brazen Fortress, Isfendiyar 
having first intimated to his brother Bashutan to march with 
his army direct to the gates of the fort, as soon as he saw a 
column of flame and smoke ascend from the interior. On the 
way they gave out* that they were merchants come with valuable 
goods from Persia, and hoped for custom. The tidings of 
travellers having arrived with rubies and gold-embroidered 
garments for sale, soon reached the ears of Arjasp, the king } 
who immediately gave them permission to enter the fort. "When 
Isfendiyar, the reputed master of the caravan, had got within 
the walls, he said that he had brought rich presents for the 
king, and requested to be introduced to him in person. He 
was accordingly allowed to take the presents himself, was 
received with distinguished attention, and having stated his 
name to be Kherad, was invited to go to the royal palace, 
whenever, and as often as, he might please. At one of the 
interviews the king asked him, as he had come from Persia, if 
he knew whether the report was true or not that Kurugsar had 
been put to death, and what Gushtasp and Isfendiyar were 
engaged upon. ' The hero in disguise replied that it was five 
months since he left Persia ; but he had heard on the road from 
many persons that Isfeudiyar intended proceeding by the way 
of the Heft-khan with a vast army, towards the Brazen Fortress. 
At these words Arjtisp smiled in derision, and said: "Ah! 
ah ! by that way even the winged tribe are afraid to venture ; 
and if Isfendiyar had a thousand lives, he would lose them all in 
any attempt to accomplish that journey." After this interview 
Isfendiyar daily continued to attend to the sale of his merchandise, 


and soon found that his sisters were employed in the degrading 
office of drawing and carrying water for the kitchen of Arjiisp. 
When they heard that a caravan had arrived from Iran, they 
went to Isfendiyar (who recognized them at a distance, but hid 
his face that they might not know him), to inquire what 
tidings he had brought about their father and brother. 
Alarmed at the hazard of discovery, he replied that he knew 
nothing, and desired them to depart ; but they remained, and said: 
" On thy return to Iran, at least, let it be known that here we arc, 
two daughters of Gushtasp, reduced to the basest servitude, and 
neither father nor brother takes compassion upon our distresses. 

Whilst with bare head, and naked feet, we toil, 
They pass their time in peace and happiness, 
Regardless of the misery we endure." 

Isfendiyar again, in assumed anger, told them to depart, 
saying : " Talk not to me of Gushtasp and Isfendiyar what 
have I to do with them ? " At that moment the sound of his 
voice was recognized by the elder sister, who, in a transport of 
joy, instantly communicated her discovery to the younger ; but 
they kept the secret till night, and then they returned to com- 
mune with their brother. Isfendiyar finding that he was 
known, acknowledged himself, and informed them that he had 
undertaken to restore them to liberty, and that he was now 
engaged in the enterprise, opposing every -obstacle in his way ; 
but it was necessary that they should continue their usual 
labour at the wells, till a fitting opportunity occurred. 

For the purpose of accelerating the moment of release, 
Isfendiyar represented to the king that at a period of great 
adversity, he had made a vow that he would give a splendid 
banquet if ever Heaven again smiled upon him, and as he then 
was in the way to prosperity, and wished to fulfil his vow, he 
hoped that his majesty would honour him with his presence on 
the occasion. The king accepted the invitation with satis- 
faction, and said : " To-morrow I will be thy guest, at thy own 
house, and with all my warriors and soldiers." But this did 


not suit the scheme of the pretended merchant, who apologised 
on account of his house being too small, and proposed that the 
feast should be held upoa the loftiest part of the fortress, where 
spacious tents and pavilions might be erected for the purpose, 
and a large fire lighted to give splendour to the scene. The 
king assented, and every requisite preparation being made, all 
the royal and warrior guests assembled in the morning, and 
eagerly partook of the rich viands set before them. They all 
drank wine with such relish and delight, that they soon became 
intoxicated, and Khertid seizing the opportunity, ordered the 
logs of wood which had been collected, to be set on fire, and 
rapidly the smoke and flame sprung up, and ascended to the 
sky. Bashutan saw the looked-for sign, and hastened with two 
thousand horsemen to the gates of the fortress, where he slew 
every one that he met, calling himself Isfendiytir. Arjasp had 
enjoyed the banquet exceedingly ; the music gave him infinite 
pleasure, and the wine had intoxicated him ; but in the midst 
of his hilarity and merriment, he was told that Isfendiydr had 
reached the gates, and entered the fort, killing immense 
numbers of his people. This terrible intelligence roused him 
and quitting the festive board of Kherad, he ordered his son 
Kahram, with fifty thousand horsemen, to repel the invader. 
He also ordered forty thousand horsemen to protect different 
parts of the walls, and ten thousand to remain as his own 
personal guard. Kahram accordingly issued forth without 
delay, and soon engaged in battle with the force under 

When night came, Isfendiyar opened the lids of the chests, 
and let out the hundred and sixty warriors, whom he supplied 
with swords and spears, and armour, and also the hundred who 
were disguised as camel-drivers and servants. 

With this bold band he sped, 

Whither Arjasp had fled ; 

And all who fought around, 

To keep untouched that sacred ground ; 

(Resistance weak and vain,) 

By him were quickly slain. 


The sisters of Isfendiyar now arrived, and pointed out to 
him the chamber of Arjasp, to which place he immediately 
repaired, and roused up the king, who was almost insensible with 
the fumes of wine. Arjasp, however, sprang upon his feet, 

And grappled stoutly with Isfendiydr, 

And desperate was the conflict : head and loins 

Alternately received deep gaping wounds 

From sword and dagger. Wearied out at length, 

Arjasp shrunk back, when with one mighty blow, 

Isfcndiyar, exulting in his power, 

Cleft him asunder. 

T\vo of the wives, two daughters, and one sister of Arjasp 
fell immediately into the hands of the conqueror, who delivered 
them into the custody of his son, to be conveyed home. He 
then quitted the palace, and turning his steps towards the gates 
of the fortress, slew a great number of the enemy. 

Ivahram, in the meantime had been fiercely engaged with 
Bashutan, and was extremely reduced. At the very moment 
too of his discomfiture, he heard the watchmen call out aloud 
that Arjasp had been slain by Kherad. Confounded and 
alarmed by these tidings, he approached the fort, where he 
heard the confirmation of his misfortune from every mouth, 
and also that the garrison had been put to the sword. Leading 
on the remainder of his troops he now came in contact with 
IsAndiyar and his two hundred and sixty warriors, and a sharp 
engagement ensued ; but the coming up of Bashiitan's force on 
his rear, placed him in such a predicament on every side, that 
defeat and destruction were almost inevitable. In short ? 
Kahram was left with only a few of his soldiers near him, when 
Isfendiyar, observing his situation, challenged him to personal 
combat, and the challenge was accepted. 

So closely did the eager warriors close, 

They seemed together joined, and but one man. 

At last Isfendiyar seized Kahram's girth, 

And flung him to the ground, and bound his hands ; 

And as a leaf is severed from its stalk, 

So he the head cleft from its quivering trunk ; 

Thus one blow wins, and takes away a throne, 

In battle heads are trodden under hoofs, 

Crowns under heads. 


After the death of Kahram, Isfendiyar issued a proclamation, 
offering full pardon to all who would unite under his banners. 
They had no king ; 

The country had no throne, no crown. Alas ! 

What is the world without a governor, 

What, but a headless trunk ? A thing more worthless 

Than the vile dust upon the common road. 

What could the people do in their despair ? 

They were obedient, and Isfendiyar 

Encouraged them with kind and gentle words, 

Fitting a generous and a prudent master. 

Having first written to his father an account of the great 
victory which he had gained, he occupied himself in reducing 
all the surrounding provinces and their inhabitants to sub- 
jection. Those people who continued hostile to him he deemed 
it necessary to put to death. He took all the women of Arjasp 
into his own service, and their daughters he presented to his 
own sons. 

Not a warrior of Chin remained ; 

The king of Tib'an was swept away ; 
And the realm where in pomp he had reigned, 

Where he basked in prosperity's ray, 
Was spoiled by the conqueror's brand, 

Desolation marked every scene, 
And a stranger now governed the mountainous land, 

Where the splendour of Poshang had been. 
Not a dirhem of treasure was left ; 

For nothing eluded the conqueror's grasp ; 
Of all was the royal pavilion bereft ; 

All followed the fate of Arjasp I 

When Gushtasp received information of this mighty conquest, 
he sent orders to Isfendiyar to continue in the government of the 
new empire ; but the prince replied that he had settled the 
country, and was anxious to see his father. This request being 
permitted, he was desired to bring away all the immense booty, 
and return by the road of the Heft-khan. Arriving at the 
Vlace where he was overtaken by the dreadful winter-storm, he 


again found all the property lie had lost under the drifts ot 
snow ; and when he had accomplished his journey, he was 
received with the Avarmest welcome and congratulations, on 
account of his extraordinary successes. A royal feast was 
prepared, and the king filled his son's goblet with wine so re- 
peatedly, and drank himself so frequently, and with such zest, 
that both of them at length became intoxicated. Gushtasp then 
asked Isfendiyar to describe to him the particulars of his ex- 
pedition by the road of the Heft-khan ; for though he had 
heard the story from others, he wished to have it from his own 
mouth. But Isfendiydr replied : " We have both drank too 
much wine, and nothing good can proceed from a drunken 
man ; I will recite my adventures to-morrow, when my head is 
clear." The next day Gushtasp, seated upon his throne, and 
Isfendiyar placed before him on a golden chair, again asked for 
the prince's description of his triumphant progress by the Heft- 
khan, and according to his wish every incident that merited 
notice was faithfully detailed to him. The king expressed great 
pleasure at the conclusion ; but envy and suspicion lurked in 
his breast, and writhing internally like a serpent, he still de- 
layed fulfilling his promise to invest Isfendiyar, upon the 
overthrow of Arjasp, with the sovereignty of Ira"n. 

The prince could not fail to observe the changed disposition 
of his father, and privately went to Kitabun, his mother, 
to whom he related the solemn promise and engagement 
of Gushtasp, and requested her to go to him, and say : " Thou 
hast given thy royal word to Isfendiyar, that when he had 
conquered and slain Arjtisp, and restored his own sisters to 
liberty, thou wouldst place upon his head the crown of Iran ; 
faith and honour are indispensable in princes, they are in- 
culcated by religion, and yet thou hast failed to make good 
thy word." But the mother had more prudence, and said : 
" Let me give thee timely counsel, and breathe not a syllable to 
any one on the subject. God forbid that thou shouldst again 
be thrown into prison, and confined in chains. Eecollect thine 
is the succession ; the army is in thy favour j thy father is old 


ind infirm. Have a little patience, and in the end thou wilt 
andoubtedly be the King of Persia. 

The gold and jewels, the imperial sway, 
The crown, the throne, the army, all he owns, 
Will presently be thine ; then wait in patience, 
And reign, in time, the monarch of the world." 

Isfendiyar, however, was not contented with his mother's 
counsel, and suspecting that she would communicate to the 
king what he had said, he one day, as if under the influence of 
wine, thus addressed his father : " In what way have I failed 
to accomplish thy wishes ? Have I not performed such actions 
as never were heard of, and never will be performed again, in 
furtherance of thy glory ? I have overthrown thy greatest 
enemy, and supported thy honour with ceaseless toil and 
exertion. Is it not then incumbent on thee to fulfil thy 
promise ? " Gushtasp replied : " Do not be impatient the 
throne is thine ; " but he was deeply irritated at heart on being 
thus reproached by his own son. When he retired he consulted 
with Jamasp, and was anxious to know what the stars foretold. 
The answer was : " He is of exalted fortune, of high destiny ; 
he will overcome all his enemies, and finally obtain the sove- 
reignty of the heft-aklim, or seven climes." This favourable 
prophecy aggravated the spleen of the father against the son, 
and he inquired with bitter and unnatural curiosity : " What 
will be his death ? Look to that." 

" A deadly dart from Kustem's bow, 
Will lay the glorious warrior low." 

These tidings gladdened the heart of Gushtasp, and he said : 
" If this miscreant had been slain in his expedition to the 
Brazen Fortress I should not now have been insulted with his 
claim to my throne." The king then having resolved upon a 
scheme of deep dissimulation, ordered a gorgeous banquet, and 
invited to it all his relations and warriors ; and when the 
guests were assembled he said to Isfendiyar : " The crown and 

u 2 


the throne are thine ; indeed, who is there so well qualified for 
imperial sway ? " and turning to his warriors, he spoke of him 
with praise and admiration, and added : " When I was enter- 
ing upon the war against Arjasp, before I quitted Sistiin, I said 
to Rustem : ' My father Lohurasp is killed, my wife and 
children made prisoners, wilt thou assist me in punishing the 
murderer and oppressor ? ' but he excused himself, and re- 
mained at home, and although I have since been involved in 
numberless perils, he has not once by inquiry shewn himself 
interested in my behalf ; in short, he boasts that Kai-khosrau 
gave him the principalities of Zabul and Kabul, and Xim-ruz, 
and that he owes no allegiance to me ! It behoves me, there- 
fore, to depute Isfendiyar to go and put him to death, or 
bring him before me in bonds alive. After that I shall have 
no enemy to be revenged upon, and I shall retire from the 
w r orldj and leave to Isfendiyar the crown and the throne of 
Persia, with confidence and satisfaction." All the nobles and 
heroes present approved of the measure, and the king, gratified 
by their approbation, then turned to Isfendiyar, and said : " I 
have sworn on the Zendavesta, to relinquish my power, and 
place it in thy hands, as soon as Rustem is subdued. Take what- 
ever force the important occasion may require, for the whole 
resources of the empire shall be at thy command." But Isfen- 
diya"r thus replied : " Remember the first time I defeated 
Arjdsp what was my reward ? Through the machinations of 
Gurzam I w y as thrown into prison and chained. And what is 
my reward now that I have slain both Arjasp and his son in 
battle ? Thy solemn promise to me is forgotten, or disregarded. 
The prince who forgets one promise will forget another, if it be 
convenient for his purpose. 

Whenever the Heft-khan is brought to mind, 
I -feel a sense of horror. But why should I 
Kepeat the story of those great exploits ! 
God is my witness, how I slew the wolf, 
The lion, and the dragon ; how I punished 
That fell enchantress with her thousand wiles ; 
And how I suffered, midst the storm of snow, 
Which almost froze the blood within my veins ; 


And how that vast unfathomable deep 

We crossed securely. These are deeds which waken 

Wonder and praise in others, not in thee ! 

The treasure which I captured now is thine ; 

And what is my reward ? the interest, sorrow. 

Thus am I cheated of my recompense. 

It is the custom for great kings to keep 

Religiously their pledged, affianced word ; 

But thou hast broken thine, despite of honour. 

I do remember in thy early youth, 
It was in Bum, thou didst perform a feat 
Of gallant daring ; for thou didst destroy 
A dragon and a wolf, but thou didst bear 
Thyself most proudly, thinking human arm 
Never before had done a deed so mighty ; 
Yes, thou wert proud and vain, and seemed exalted 
Up to the Heavens ; and for that noble act 
What did thy father do ? The king for that 
Gave thee with joyous heart his crown and throne. 
Now mark the difference ; think what I have done, 
What perils I sustained, and for thy sake ! 
Thy foes I vanquished, clearing from thy mind 
The gnawing rust of trouble and affliction. 
Monsters I slew, reduced the Brazen Fortress. 
And laid Arjasp's whole empire at thy feet. 
And what was my reward ? Neglect and scorn. 
Did I deserve this at a father's hands ? " 

Gushtasp remained unmoved by this sharp rebuke, though 
he readily acknowledged its justice. "The crown shall be 
thine," said he, " but consider my position. Think, too, what 
services and Rustem performed for Kai-khosrau, and 
shall I expect less from my own son, gifted as he is with a form 
of brass, and the most prodigious valour ? Forbid it, Heaven ! 
that any rumour of our difference should get abroad in the 
world, which would redound to the dishonour of both ! Nearly 
half of Iran is in the possession of Rustem." " Give me the 
crown," said Isfendiyar, "and I will immediately proceed 
against the Zabul champion." " I have given thee both the 
trown and the throne, take with thee my whole army, and all 
my treasure. What wouldst thou have more ? He who has 
conquered the terrific obstacles of the Heft-khan, and has slain 
Arjasp and subdued his entire kingdom, can have no cause to 


fear the prowess of Rustem, or any other chief." Isfendiyiir 
replied that he had no fear of Rustem's prowess ; he was now 
old, and therefore not equal to himself in strength ; still he 
had no wish to oppose him : 

For he has been the monitor and friend 

Of our Kaianian ancestors ; his care 

Enriched their minds, and taught them to be brave ; 

And he was ever faithful to their cause. 

Besides," said he, " thou wert the honoured guest 

Of Eastern two long years ; and at Sistan 

Enjoyed his hospitality and friendship, 

His festive, social board ; and canst thou now, 

Forgetting that delightful intercourse, 

Become his bitterest foe ? " 

Gushttisp replied : 

" 'Tis true he may have served my ancestors ; 
But what is that to me 1 His spirit is proud, 
And he refused to yield me needful aid 
When danger pressed ; that is enough, and thou 
Canst not divert me from my settled purpose. 

Therefore, if thy aim be still 
To rule, thy father's wish fulfil ; 
Quickly trace the distant road ; 
Quick invade the chief's abode ; 
Bind his feet, and bind his hands 
In a captive's galling bands ; 
Bring him here, that all may know 
Thou hast quelled the mighty foe." 

But Isfendiyar was still reluctant, and implored him to 
relinquish his design. 

" For if resolved, a gloomy cloud 
Will quickly all thy glories shroud, 

And dim thy brilliant throne ; 
I would not thus aspire to reign, 
But rather, free from crime, remain 

Sequestered and alone." 

Again Gushtasp spoke, and said : " There is no necessity 
for any further delay. Thou art appointed my successor, and 


the crown and the throne are thine ; thou hast therefore only to 
march to the scene of action, and accomplish the object of the 
war." Hearing this, Isfendiyar sullenly retired to his own 
house, and Gushtasp, perceiving that he was in an angry mood, 
requested Jamasp (his minister) to ascertain the state of his 
mind, and whether he intended to proceed to Sistan or not. 
Jamjisp immediately went, and Isfendiydr asked him, as his 
friend, what he would advise. " The commands of a father," 
he replied, " must be obeyed." There was now no remedy, and 
the king being informed that the prince consented to under- 
take the expedition, no further discussion took place. 

But Kitabiin was deeply affected when she heard of these 
proceedings, and repaired instantly to her son, to represent to 
him the hopelessness of the enterprise he had engaged to 

" A mother's counsel is a golden treasure ; 
Consider well, and listen not to folly. 
Rustem, the champion of the world, will never 
Suffer himself to be confined in bonds. 
Did he not conquer the White Demon, fill 
The world with blood, in terrible revenge, 
When Saiawush was by Afrasiyab 
Cruelly slain ? 0, curses on the throne, 
And ruin seize the country, which returns 
Evil for good, and spurns its benefactor. 
Restrain thy steps, engage not in this war ; 
It cannot do thee honour. Hear my voice ! 
Hear the safe counsel of thy anxious mother ! 
For Rustem still can conquer all the world." 
Thus spoke Kitabun, shedding ceaseless tears ; 
And thus Isfendiyar : " I fear not Rustem ; 
I fear not his prodigious power and skill ; 
But never can I on so great a hero 
Place ignominious bonds ; it must not be. 
Yet, mother dear, my faithful word is pledged ; 
My word Jamasp has taken to the king, 
And I must follow where my fortune leads." 

The next morning Isfendiyar took leave of the king, and 
with a vast army, and immense treasure, commenced his march 
towards Sisttln. It happened that one of the camels in advance 
laid down, and though beaten severely, could not be made to 


get up on its legs. Isfendiyar, seeing the obstinacy of th 
animal, ordered it to be killed, and passed on. The people, 
however, interpreted the accident as a bad omen, and wished 
him not to proceed ; but he could not attend to their sugges- 
tions, as he thought the king would look upon it as a mere 
pretence, and therefore continued his journey. 

When he approached Sistan, he sent Bahman, his eldest 
son, to Rustem, with a flattering message, to induce the 
champion to honour him with an istakbal, or deputation to 
receive him. Upon Bahman's arrival, however, he hesitated 
and delayed, being reluctant to give a direct answer ; but Zal 
interposed, saying : " Why not immediately wait upon the 
prince ? have we not always been devoted to the Kaianian 
dynasty ? Go and bring him hither, that we may tender him 
our allegiance, and entertain him at our mansion as becomes 
his illustrious birth." Accordingly Rustem went out to welcome 
Isfendiyar, and alighting from Rakush, proceeded respectfully 
on foot to embrace him. He then invited him to his house, 
but Isfendiyar said : " So strict are my father's commands, 
that after having seen thee, I am not permitted to delay my 
departure." Rustem, however, pressed him to remain with 
him, but all in vain. On the contrary the prince artfully 
conducted him to his own quarters, where he addressed him 
thus : " If thou wilt allow me to bind thee, hand and foot, 
in chains, I will convey thee to the king my father, whose 
humour it is to see thee once in fetters, and then to release 
thee ! " Rustem was silent. Again Isfendiyar said : " If thou 
art not disposed to comply with this demand, go thy ways." 
Rustem replied : " First be my guest, as thy father once was, 
and after that I will conform to thy will." Again the prince 
said : " My father visited thee under other circumstances ; 
I have come for a different purpose. If I eat thy bread and 
salt, and after that thou shouldst refuse thy acquiescence, I 
must have recourse to force. But if I become thy guest, how 
can I in honour fight with thee ? and if I do not take thee 
bound into my father's presence, according to his command, 


what answer shall I give to him ? " " For the same reason," 
said Rustem : " how can I eat thy bread and salt ? " Isfen- 
diyar then replied : " Thou needest not eat niy bread and salt, 
but only drink wine. Bring thy own pure ruby." To this 
Rustem agreed, and they drank, each his OAvn wine, together. 

In a short space Rustem observed that he wished to consult 
his father Zal ; and being allowed to depart, he, on his return 
home, described in strong terms of admiration the personal 
appearance and mental qualities of Isfendiyar. 

" In wisdom ripe, and with a form 
Of brass to meet the battle-storm, 
Thou wouldst confess his every boon, 
Had been derived from Feridun." - 

Bashutan in the meanwhile observed to his brother, with some 
degree of dissatisfaction, that his enemy had come into his 
power, on his own feet too, but had been strangely permitted 
to go away again. To this gentle reproof Isfendiyar con- 
fidently replied, " If he does fail to return, I will go and secure 
him in bonds, even in his own house." "Ah ! " said Bashutan, 
" that might be clone by gentleness, but not by force, for the 
descendant of Sam, the champion of the world, is not to be 
subdued so easily." These words had a powerful effect upon 
the mind of Isfendiy;lr, and he became apprehensive that 
Rustem would not return ; but whilst he was still murmuring 
at his own want of vigilance, the champion appeared, and at 
this second interview repeated his desire that the prince would 
become his guest. " I am sent here by my father, who relies 
upon thy accepting his proffered hospitality." " That may 
be," said Isfendiyar, " but I am at my utmost limit, I cannot 
go farther. From this place, therefore, thou hadst better 
prepare to accompany me to Iran." Here Rustem paused, and 
at length artfully began to enumerate his various achievements, 
and to blazon his own name. 

" I fettered fast the emperor of Chin, 

Aiid broke the enchantment of the Seven Khans ; 


I stood the guardian of the Persian kings, 
Their shield in danger. I have cleared the world 
Of all their foes, enduring pain and toil 
Incalculable. Such exploits for thee 
Will I achieve, such sufferings will I bear, 
And hence we offer thee a social welcome. 
But let not dark suspicion cloud thy mind, 
Nor think thyself exalted as the heavens, 
Because I thus invite thee to our home." 

Isfendiyar felt so indignant and irritated by this apparent 
boasting and self-sufficiency of Rustem, that his first impulse 
was to cast a dagger at him ; but he kept down his wrath, and 
satisfied himself with giving him a scornful glance, and telling 
him to take a seat on his left hand. But Rustem resented 
this affront, saying that he never yet had sat down on the left 
of any king, and placed himself, without permission, on the 
right hand of Isfendiyar. The unfavourable impression on 
the prince's mind was increased by this independent conduct, 
and he was provoked to say to him, " Rustem ! I have heard 
that Ztil, thy father, was of demon extraction, and that Sam cast 
him into the desert because of his disgusting and abominable 
appearance ; that even the hungry Simurgh, on the same 
account, forebore to feed upon him, but conveyed him to her 
nest among her own young ones, who pitying his wretched 
condition, supplied him with part of the carrion they were 
accustomed to devour. Naked and filthy, he is thus said to 
have subsisted on garbage, till Sam was induced to commiserate 
his wretchedness, and take him to Sistan, where, by the indul- 
gence of his family and royal bounty, he was instructed in 
human manners and human science." This was a reproach and 
an insult too biting for Rustem to bear with any degree of 
patience, and frowning with strong indignation, he said, " Thy 
father knows, and thy grandfather well knew that Zal was the 
son of Sam, and Sam of Narim&n, and that Nariman was 
descended from Husheng. Thou and I, therefore, have the 
same origin. Besides, on my mother's side, I am descended 
from Zohak, so that by both parents I am of a race of princes. 
Knowest thou not that the Iranian empire was for some 


ill my hands, and that I refused to retain it, though urged 
by the nobles and the army to exercise the functions of 
royalty ? It was my sense of justice, and attachment to the 
Kiiis and to thy family, which have enabled thee to possess thy 
present dignity and command. It is through my fidelity 
and zeal that thou art now in a situation to reproach me. 
Thou hast slain one king, Arjasp, how many kings have I 
slain ? Did I not conquer Afrasiytib, the greatest and bravest 
king that ever ruled over Turiin ? And did I not also subduo 
the king of Hamaveran, and the Khakiin of Chin ? Kalis, thy 
own ancestor, I released from the demons of Mazinderan. I 
slew the White Demon, and the tremendous giant, Akwaii 
Diw. Can thy insignificant exploits be compared with mine ? 
Never ! " Eustem's vehemence, and the disdainful tone of his 
voice, exasperated still more the feelings of Isfendiyar, who 
however recollected that he was under his roof, otherwise he 
would have avenged himself instantly on the spot. Restraining 
his anger, he then said softly to him, " "Wherefore dost thou 
raise thy voice so high ? For though thy head be exalted to 
the skies, thou wert, and still art, but a dependent on the Kais. 
And was thy Heft-khan equal in terrible danger to mine ? Was 
the capture of Mazinderan equal in valorous exertion to the 
capture of the Brazen Fortress ? And did I not, by the power 
of my sword, diffuse throughout the world the blessings of my 
own religion, the faith of the fire- worshipper, which was derived 
from Heaven itself ? Thou hast performed the duties of a 
warrior and a servant, whilst I have performed the holy 
functions of a sovereign and a prophet ! " Rustem, in reply, 

" In thy Heft-khan thou hadst twelve thousand men 
Completely armed, with ample stores and treasure, 
Whilst Rakush and my sword, my conquering sword, 
Where all the aid I had, and all I sought, 
In that prodigious enterprize of mine. 
Two sisters thou released no arduous task, 
Whilst I recovered from the demon's grasp 
The mighty Kaiis, and the monsters slew, 
Soaring like thunder in their dismal caves. 


This great exploit my single arm achieved ; 

And when Kai-khosrau gave the regal crown 

To Lohurdsp, the warriors were incensed, 

And deemed Friburz, Kaus's valiant son, 

Fittest by birth to rule. My sire and I 

Espoused the cause of Lohurasp ; else ho 

Had never sat upon the throne, nor thou 

Been here to treat with scorn thy benefactor. 

And now Gushtasp, with foul ingratitude, 

Would bind me hand and foot ! But who on earth 

Can do that office ? I am not accustomed 

To hear harsh terms, and cannot brook their sting, 

Therefore desist. Once in Kaus's court. 

When I was moved to anger, I poured out 

Upon him words of bitterest scorn and rage, 

And though surrounded by a thousand chiefs, 

Not one attempted to repress my fury, 

Not one, but all-stood silent and amazed." 

" Smooth that indignant brow," the prince replied 
" And measure not my courage nor my strength 
With that of Ivaiis ; had he nerve like mine ? 
Thou mightst have kept the timorous king in awe, 
But I am come myself to fetter thee ! " 
So saying, he the hand of Rustem grasped, 
And wrung it so intensely, that the champion 
Felt inwardly surprised, but careless said, 
" The time is not yet come for us to try 
Our power in battle." Then Isfendiydr 
Dropped Rustem's hand, and spoke, " To-day let wine 
Inspire our hearts, and on the field to-morrow 
Be ours the strife, with battle-axe and sword, 
And my first aim shall be to bind thee fast, 
And shew thee to my troops, Rustem in fetters I " 

At this the champion smiled, and thus exclaimed, 
" Where hast thou seen the deeds of warriors brave 1 
Where hast thou heard the clash of mace and sword 
Wielded by men of valour ? I to-morrow 
Will take thee in my arms, and straight convey thee 
To Zal. and place thee on the ivory throne, 
And on thy head a crown of gold shall glitter. 
The treasury I will open, and our troops 
Shall fight for thee, and I will gird my loins 
As they were girt for thy bold ancestors ; 
And when thou art the chosen king, and I 
Thy warrior-chief, the world will be thy own ; 
No other sovereign need attempt to reign/' 

" So much time has been spent in vain-boasting, and ex- 


travagant self-praise," rejoined Isfendiyar, " that the day is 
nearly done, and I am hungry ; let us therefore take some 
refreshment together." Rustem's appetite being equally keen, 
the board was spread, and every dish that was brought to him 
he emptied at once, as if at one swallow ; then he threw aside 
the goblets, and called for the large flagon that he might drink 
his fill without stint. When he had finished several dishes and 
as many flagons of wine, he paused, and Isfendiyar and the 
assembled chiefs were astonished at the quantity he had 
devoured. He now prepared to depart, and the prince said 
to him, " Go and consult with thy father : if thou art contented 
to be bound, well ; if not, thou wilt have cause to repent, for 
I will assuredly attend to the commands of Gushtasp." 
u Do thou also consult with thy brethren and friends," replied 
Rustem, " whether thou wilt be our guest to-morrow, or not ; if 
not, come to this place before sunrise, that we may decide our 
differences in battle." Isfendiytlr said, "My most anxious 
desire, my wish to heaven, is to meet thee, for I shall have no 
difficulty in binding thee hand and foot. I would indeed 
willingly convey thee without fetters to my father, but if I did 
so, he would say that I was unable to put thee in bonds, and 
that would disgrace my name." Rustem observed that the 
immense number of men and demons he had contended against 
was as nothing in the balance of his mind compared with the 
painful subject of his present 'thoughts and fears. He was 
ready to engage, but afraid of meriting a bad name. 

" If in the battle thou art slain by me, 
Will not my cheek turn pale among the princes 
Of the Kaianian race, having cut off 
A lovely branch of that illustrious tree ? 
Will not reproaches hang upon my name 
When I am dead, and shall I not be cursed 
For perpetrating such a horrid deed ? 
Thy father, too, is old, and near his end, 
And thou upon the eve of being crowned ; 
But in thy heart thou knowest that I proffered, 
And proffer my allegiance and devotion, 
And would avoid the conflict. Sure, thy father 
Is practising some trick, some foul deception, 


To urge thce on to an untimely death, 

To rid himself of some unnatural fear, 

He stoops to an unnatural, treacherous act, 

For I have ever been the firm support 

Of crown and throne, and perfectly he knows 

No mortal ever conquered me in battle, 

None ever from my sword escaped his life." 

Then spoke Isfendiyar : " Thou wouldst be generous 
And bear a spotless name, and tarnish mine ; 
But I am not to be deceived by thee : 
In fetters thou must go I " Eustem replied : 
" Banish that idle fancy from thy brain ; 
Dream not of things impossible, for death 
Is busy with thee ; pause, or thou wilt die." 
" No more ! " exclaimed the prince, " no more of this. 
Nor seek to frighten me with threatening words ; 
Go, and to-morrow bring with thee thy friends, 
Thy father and thy brother, to behold 
With their own eyes thy downfall, and lament 
In sorrow over thy impending fate." 
" So let it be," said Eustem, and at once 
Mounted his noble horse, and hastened home. 

The champion immediately requested his father's permission 
to go and fight Isfendiyar the following day, but the old man 
recommended reconciliation and peace. " That cannot be," 
said Rustem, " for he has reviled thee so severely, and heaped 
upon me so many indignities, that my patience is exhausted, 
and the contest unavoidable." In the morning Zal, weeping 
bitterly, tied on Rustem's armour himself, and in an agony of 
grief, said : " If thou shouldst kill Isfendiyar, thy name will 
be rendered infamous throughout the world ; and if thou 
shouldst be killed, Sistan will be prostrate in the dust, and ex- 
tinguished for ever ! My heart shudders at the thoughts of 
this battle, but there is no remedy." Rustem said to him : 
" Put thy trust in God, and be not sorrowful, for when I grasp 
my sword the head of the enemy is lost ; but my desire is to take 
Isfendiyar alive, and not to kill him. I would serve him, and 
not sever his head from his body." Zal was pleased with this 
determination, and rejoiced that there was a promise of a 
happy issue to the engagement. 

In the morning Rustem arrayed himself in his war-attire, 


helmet and breast-plate, and mounted Rakush, also armed in 
his bargustuwan. His troops, too, were all assembled, and Zal 
appointed Ziiara to take charge of them, and be careful of his 
brother on all occasions where assistance might be necessary. 
The old man then prostrated himself in prayer, and said, " 
God, turn from us all affliction, and vouchsafe to us a prosperous 
day." Rustem being prepared for the struggle, directed Ziiara 
to wait with the troops at a distance, whilst he went alone to 
meet Isfendiyar. When Bashiitan first saw him, he thought he 
was coming to offer terms of peace, and said to Isfendiyar, " He 
is coming alone, and it is better that he should go to thy father 
of his own accord, than in bonds." " But," replied Isfendiyar, 
" he is coming completely equipped in mail quick, bring me 
my arms." " Alas ! " rejoined Bashiitan, " thy brain is wild, 
and thou art resolved upon fighting. This impetuous spirit 
will break my heart." But Isfendiyar took no notice of the 
gentle rebuke. Presently he saw Rustem ascend a high place, 
and heard his summons to single combat. He then told his 
brother to keep at a distance with the army, and not to inter- 
fere till aid was positively required. Insisting rigidly on these 
instructions, he mounted his night-black charger, and hastened 
towards Rustem, who now proposed to him that they should 
wait awhile, and that in the mean time the two armies might 
be put in motion against each other. " Though," said he, " my 
men of Zabul are few, and thou hast a numerous host." 

" This is a strange request," replied the prince, 
" But thou art all deceit and artifice ; 
Mark thy position, lofty and commanding, 
And mine, beneath thee in a spreading vale. 
Now, Heaven forbid that I, in reckless mood, 
Should give my valiant legions to destruction, 
And look unpitying on ! No, I advance, 
Whoever may oppose me ; and if thou 
Requirest aid, select thy friend, and come, 
For I need none, save God, in battle none." 
And Rustem said the same, for he required 
No human refuge, no support but Heaven. 

The battle rose, and numerous javelins whizzed 
Along the air, and helm and mail were braised ; 


Spear fractured spear, and then with shining swords 
The strife went on, till, trenched with many a wound, 
They, too, snapped short. The battle-axe was next 
Wielded, in furious wrath ; each bending forward 
Struck brain-bewildering blows ; each tried in vaiu 
To hurl the other from his fiery horse. 
Wearied, at length, they stood apart to breathe 
Their chargers panting from excessive toil, 
Covered with foam and blood, and the strong armour, 
Of steed and rider rent. The combatants 
Thus paused, in mutual consternation lost. 

In the meantime Ziiara, impatient at this delay, advanced 
towards the Iranians, and reproached them for their cowardice 
so severely, that Nushawer, the younger son of Isfendiyar, felt 
ashamed, and immediately challenged the bravest of the 
enemy to fight. Alwai, one of Rustem's followers, came boldly 
forward, but his efforts only .terminated in his discomfiture and 
death. After him came Zuara himself : 

Who galloped to the charge incensed, and, high 
Lifting his iron mace, upon the head 
Of bold Nushawer struck a furious blow, 
Which drove him from his steed a lifeless corse. 
Seeing their gallant leader thus o'erthrown, 
The troops in terror fled, and in their flight 
Thousands were slain, among them brave Mehrnus, 
Another kinsman of Isfendiyar. 

Bahman, observing the defeat and confusion of the Iranians, 
went immediately to his father, and told him that two of his 
own family were killed by the warriors of Zabul, who had also 
attacked him and put his troops to the rout with great 
slaughter. Isfendiyar was extremely irritated at this in- 
telligence, and called aloud to Rustem : " Is treachery like this 
becoming in a warrior ? " The champion being deeply con- 
cerned, shook like a branch, and swore by the head and life of 
the king, by the sun, and his own conquering sword, that he 
was ignorant of the event, and innocent of what had been done. 
To prove what he said, he offered to bind in fetters his brother 
Zuara, who must have authorized the movement ; and also to 
secure Feramurz, who slew Mehrnus, and deliver them over to 


Gushtiisp, the fire-worshipper. "Nay," said he, "I will 
deliver over to thec my whole family, as well as my brother 
and son, and thou mayest sacrifice them all as a punishment for 
having commenced the fight without permission." Isfendiyar 
replied : " Of what use would it be to sacrifice thy brother and" 
thy son ? "Would that restore my own to me ? No. Instead 
of them, I will put thee to death, therefore come on ! " Ac- 
cordingly both simultaneously bent their bows, and shot their 
arrows with the utmost rapidity ; but whilst Rustem's made 
no impression, those of Isfendiyar produced great effect on the 
champion and his horse. So severely was Eakush wounded, 
that Rustem, when he perceived how much his favourite horse 
was exhausted, dismounted, and continued to impel his arrows 
against the enemy from behind his shield. But Rakush brooked 
not the dreadful storm, and galloped off unconscious that his 
master himself was in as bad a plight. When Ziiara saw the 
noble animal, riderless, crossing the plain, he gasped for breath, 
and in an agony of grief hurried to the fatal spot, where he 
found Rustem desperately hurt, and the blood flowing copiously 
from every wound. The champion observed, that though he 
was himself bleeding so much, not one drop of blood ap- 
peared to have issued from the veins of his antagonist. He 
was very weak, but succeeded in dragging himself up to his 
former position, when Isfendiyar, smiling to see him thus, 
exclaimed : 

" Is this the valiant Rustem, the renowned, 
Quitting the field of battle ? Where is now 
The raging tiger, the victorious chief ? 
Was it from thee the Demons shrunk in terror, 
And did thy burning sword sear out their hearts 1 
What has become of all thy valour now ? 
Where is thy matchless mace, and why art thou, 
The roaring lion, turned into a fox, 
An animal of slyness, not of courage, 
Losing thy noble character and name I " 

Zuara, when he came to Rustem, alighted and resigned his 
horse to his brother ; and placing an arrow on his bow-string, 



wished himself to engage Isfendiyar, who was ready to fight 
him, but Eustem cried, " No, I have not yet done with thee." 
Isfendiyar replied : " I know thee well, and all thy dissimula- 
tion, but nothing yet is accomplished. Come and consent to 
foe fettered, or I must compel thee." Eustem, however, was 
not to be overcome, and he said : " If I were really subdued by 
thee, I might agree to be bound like a vanquished slave ; but 
the day is now closing, to-morrow we will resume the fight ! " 
Isfendiyar acquiesced, and they separated, Eustem going to his 
own tent, and the prince remaining on the field. There he 
affectionately embraced the severed heads of his kinsmen, 
placed them himself on a bier, and sent them to his father, the 
king, with a letter in which he said, " Thy commands must be 
obeyed, and such is the result of to-day ; Heaven only knows 
what may befali to-morrow." Then he spoke privately to 
Bashutan : " This Eustem is not human, he is formed of rock 
and iron, neither sword nor javelin has done him mortal harm ; 
but the arrows went deep into his body, and it will indeed be 
wonderful if he lives throughout the night. I know not what 
to think of to-morrow, or how I shall be able to overcome 

When Eustem arrived at his quarters, Zal soon discovered 
that he had received many wounds, which occasioned great 
affliction in his family, and he said : " Alas ! that in my old 
age such a misfortune should have befallen us, and that with 
my own eyes I should see these gaping wounds ! " He then 
rubbed Eustem's feet, and applied healing balm to the wounds, 
and bound them up with the skill and care of a physician. 
Eustem said to his father : " I never met with a foe, warrior or 
demon, of such amazing strength and bravery as this ! He 
seems to have a brazen body, for my arrows, which I can drive 
through an anvil, cannot penetrate his chest. If I had applied 
the power which I have exerted to a mountain, the mountain 
would have moved from its base, but he sat firmly upon his 
saddle and scorned my efforts. I thank God that it is night, 
and that I have escaped from his grasp. To-morrow I cannot 


fight, and my secret wish is to retire unseen from the struggle, 
.that no trace of me may be discovered." " In that case," 
replied Zal, " the victor will come and take me and all my 
family into bondage. But let us not despair. Did not the 
Simurgh promise that whenever I might be overcome by ad- 
versity, if I burned one of her feathers, she would instantly 
appear ? Shall we not then solicit assistance in this awful 
extremity ? " So saying, Ztil went up to a high place, and 
burnt the feather in a censer, and in a short time the Simurgh 
stood before him. After due praise and acknowledgment, he 
explained his wants. " But," said he, " may the misfortune we 
endure be far from him who has brought it upon us. My son 
Rustem is wounded almost unto death, and I am so helpless 
that I can do him no good." He then brought forward 
Rakush, pierced by numerous arrows ; upon which the wonder- 
ful Bird said to him, " Be under no alarm on that account, for 
I will soon cure him ; " and she immediately plucked out the 
rankling weapons with her beak, and the wounds, on passing a 
feather over them, were quickly healed. 

To Rustein now she turns, and soothes his grief, 
And drawing forth the arrows, sucks the blood 
From out the wounds, which at her bidding close, 
And the illustrious champion is restored 
To life and power. 

Being thus reinvigorated by the magic influence of the 
Simurgh, he solicits further aid in the coming strife with, 
Isfendiyar; but the mysterious animal laments that she cannot 
assist him. " There never appeared in the world," said she r 
" so brave and so perfect a hero as Isfendiydr. The favour of. 
Heaven is with him, for in his Heft-khan he, by some artifice, 
succeeded in killing a Simurgh, and the further thou art re- 
moved from his invincible arm, the greater will be thy safety." 
Here Zal interposed and said : " If Rustem retires from the 
contest, his family will all be enslaved, and I shall equally share 
their bondage and affliction." The Simurgh, hearing these 

x 2 


words, fell into deep thought, and remained some time silent. 
At length she told Kustern to mount Rakush and follow her. 
Away she went to a far distance ; and crossing a great river, 
arrived at a place covered with reeds, where the Kazu-trec 
abounded. The Simurgh then rubbed one of her feathers upon 
the eyes of Eustem, and directed him to take a branch of the 
Kazu-tree, and make it straight upon the fire, and form that 
wand into a forked arrow ; after which he was to advance 
against Isfendiyar, and, placing the arrow on his bow-string, 
shoot it into the eyes of his enemy. " The arrow will only 
make him blind," said the Simurgh, " but he who spills the 
blood of Isfendiyar will never be free from calamity during 
his whole life. The Kazu-tree has also this peculiar quality : 
an arrow made of it is sure to accomplish its intended errand 
it never misses the aim of the archer." Rustem expressed his 
boundless gratitude for this information and assistance ; and 
the Simurgh having transported him back to his tent, and 
affectionately kissed his face, returned to her own habitation. 
The champion now prepared the arrow according to the in- 
structions he had received ; and when morning dawned, 
mounted his horse, and hastened to the field. He found 
Isfendiyar still sleeping, and exclaimed aloud: "Warrior, art 
thou still slumbering ? Rise, and see Rustem before thee ! " 
When the prince heard his stern voice, he started up, and in 
great anxiety hurried on his armour. He said to Bashutan, 
" I had uncharitably thought he would have died of his 
wounds in the night, but this clear and bold voice seems to 
indicate perfect health go and see whether his wounds are 
bound up or not, and whether he is mounted on Rakush or on 
some other horse." Rustem perceived Bashutan approach with 
an inquisitive look, and conjectured that his object was to 
ascertain the condition of himself and Rakush. He therefore 
vociferated to him : " I am now Avholly free from wounds, and 
so is my horse, for I possess an elixir which heals the most cruel 
lacerations of the flesh the moment it is applied ; but no such 
wounds were inflicted upon me, the arrows of Isfendiyar being 


only like needles sticking in my body." Bashutan now re- 
ported to his brother that Rustem Appeared to be more fresh 
and vigorous than the day before, and, thinking from the spirit 
and gallantry of his demeanour that he would be victorious in 
another contest, he strongly recommended a reconciliation. 


Isfendiyar, blind to the march of fate, treated the suggestion 
of liis brother with scorn, and mounting his horse, was soon in 
the presence of Rustern, whom he thus hastily addressed : 
" Yesterday thou werfc wounded almost to death by my arrows, 
and to-day there is no trace of them. How is this ? 

But thy father Zal is a sorcerer, 

And he by charm and spell 
Has cured all the wounds of the warrior, 

And now he is safe and well. 
For the wounds I gave could never be 
Closed up, excepting by sorcery. 
Yes, the wounds I gave thee in every part, 
Could never be cured but by magic art." 

Rustem replied, " If a thousand arrows were shot at me, they 
would all drop harmless to the ground, and in the end thou 
wilt fall by my hands. Therefore, if thou seekest thy own 
welfare, come at once and be my guest, and I swear by the 
Almighty, by Zerdusht, and the Zendavesta, by the sun and 
moon, that I will go with thee, but unfettered, to thy father, 
who may do with me what he lists." " That is not enough," 
replied Isfendiyar, " thou must be fettered." " Then do not 
bind my arms, and take whatever thou wilt from me." " And 
what hast thou to give ? " 


" A thousand jewels of brilliant hue. 

And of unknown price, shall be thine ; 
A thousand imperial diadems too, 

And a thousand damsels divine, 
Who with angel- voices will sing and pbiy, 
And delight thy senses both night and day ; 
And my family wealth shall be brought thee, all 
That was gathered by Nariman, Sam, and Ziil.' 1 

" This is all in vain," said Isfendiyar. " I may have wandered 
from the way of Heaven, but I will not disobey the commands 
of the king. And of what use would thy treasure aud property 
be to me ? I must please my father, that he may surrender to 
me his crown and throne, and I have solemnly sworn to him 
that I will place thee before him in fetters." Rustem replied, 
"And in the hopes of a crown aud throne thou wouldst sacrifice 
thyself ! " " Thou shalt see ! " said Isfendiyar, and seized his 
bow to commence the combat. Rustem did the same, and when 
he had placed the forked arrow in the bow-string, he imploringly 
turned np his face towards Heaven, and fervently exclaimed, 
" God, thou knowest how anxiously I have wished for a re- 
conciliation, how I have suffered, and that I would now give 
all my treasures and wealth and go with him to Iniu, to avoid 
this conflict ; but my otters are disdained, for he is bent upon 
consigning me to bondage and disgrace. Thou art the redresser 
of grievances direct the flight of this arrow into his eyes, but 
do not let me be punished for the involuntary deed." At this 
moment Isfendiytir shot an arrow with great force at Rustem, 
who dexterously eluded its point, and then, in return, instantly 
lodged the charmed weapon in the eyes of his antagonist. 

And darkness overspread his sight, 
The world to him was hid in night ; 
The bow dropped from his slackened hand, 
And down he sunk upon the sand. 

" Yesterday," said Rustem, " thou discharged at me a hundred 
and sixty arrows in vain, and now thou art ovcrthroAvn by one 
nrrow of mine." Bahman, the son of Isfendiy;ir, seeing his 
father bleeding on the ground, uttered loud lamentations, and 


Bashutan, followed by the Iranian troops, also drew nigh with 
the deepest sorrow marked on their countenances. The fatal 
arrow was immediately drawn from the wounded eyes of the 
prince, and some medicine being first applied to them, they 
conveyed him mournfully to his own tent. 

The conflict having thus terminated, Rustem at the same 
time returned with his army to where Zal remained in anxious 
suspense about the result. The old man rejoiced at the issue, 
but said, " 0, my son, thou hast killed thy enemy, but I have 
learnt from the wise men and astrologers that the slayer of 
Isfendiyar must soon come to a fatal end. May God protect 
thee ! " Rustem replied, " I am guiltless, his blood is upon 
his own head." The next day they both proceeded to visit 
Isfendiyar, and offer to him their sympathy and condolence, 
whfii the wounded prince thus spoke to Rustem : " I do not 
ascribe my misfortune to thee, but to an all-ruling power. 
Fate would have it so, and thus it is ! I now consign to thy 
care and guardianship my son Bahman : instruct him in the 
science of government, the customs of kings, and the rules and 
stratagems of the warrior, for thou art exceedingly wise and 
experienced, and perfect in all things." Rustem readily com 
plied, and said : 

" That duty shall be mine alone, 
To scat him firmly on the throne." 

Then Isfendiyar murmured to Bashiitan, that the anguish of 
his wound was wearing him away, and that he had but a short 
time to live. 

" The pace of death is fast and fleet, 

And nothing my life can save, 
I shall want no robe, but my winding sheet, 

No mansion but the grave. 

And tell my father the wish of his heart 

Has not been breathed in vain. 
The doom he desired when he made me depart, 

Has been scaled, and his son is slain ! 


And. ! to my mother, in kindliest tone, 

The mournful tidings bear, 
And soothe her woes for her warrior gone, 

For her lost Isfendiyar." 

He now groaned heavily, and his last words were : 

" I die, pursued by unrelenting fate, 
The hapless victim of a father's hate." 

Life having departed, his body was placed upon a bier, and 
conveyed to Irin, amidst the tears and lamentations of the 

Eustem now took charge of Bahman, according to the dying 
request of Isfendiyar, and brought him to Sistan. This was, 
however, repugnant to the wishes of Ziiara, who observed to bis 
brother : " Thou hast slain the father of this youth ; do not 
therefore nurture and instruct the son of thy enemy, for, mark 
me, in the end he will be avenged." " But did not Isfendiyiir, 
with his last breath, consign him to my guardianship ? how can 
I refuse it now ? It must be so written and determined in the 
dispensations of Heaven." 

The arrival of the bier in Persia, at the palace of Gushtasp, 
produced a melancholy scene of public and domestic affliction. 
The king took off the covering and wept bitterly, and the 
mother and sisters exclaimed, " Alas ! thy death is not the 
work of human hands ; it is not the work of Eustem, nor of Zal, 
but of the Simurgh. Thou hast not lived long enough to be 
ashamed of a grey beard, nor to witness the maturity and 
attainments of thy children. Alas ! thou art snatched away at 
a moment of the highest promise, even at the commencement 
of thy glory." In the meanwhile the curses and imprecations 
of the people were poured upon the devoted head of Gushtasp 
on account of his cruel and unnatural conduct, so that he was 
obliged to confine himself to bis palace till after the interment 
of Isfendiyar. 

Eustem scrupulously fulfilled his engagement, and instructed 
Bahman in all manly exercises ; in the use of bow and javelin, 


in the management of sword and buckler, and in all the arts 
and accomplishments of the warrior. He then wrote to Gush- 
tasp, repeating that he was unblameable in the conflict which 
terminated in the death of his son Isfendiyar, that he had 
offered him presents and wealth to a vast extent, and moreover 
was ready to return with him to Iran, to his father ; but every 
overture was rejected. Relentless fate must have hurried him 
on to a premature death. " I have now," continued Eustem, 
" completed the education of Bahman, according to the direc- 
tions of his father, and await thy further commands." Gush- 
tasp, after reading this letter, referred to Bashutan, who con- 
firmed the declarations of Rustem, and the treacherous king, 
willing to ascribe the event to an overruling destiny, readily 
acquitted Rustem of all guilt in killing Isfendiyar. At the 
same time he sent for Bahman, and on his arrival from Sistan, 
was so pleased with him that he without hesitation appointed 
him to succeed to the throne. 

" Methinks I see Isfendiyar again, 

Thou hast the form, the very look he bore, 
And since thy glorious father is no more, 

Long as I live thou must with me remain." 


Firdausf seems to have derived the account of Shughad, and 
the melancholy fate of Rustem, from a descendant of Sam and 
Nariman, who was particularly acquainted with the chronicles 
of the heroes and the kings of Persia. Shughad, it appeal's, 
was the son of Zal, by one of the old warrior's maid-servants, 
and at his very birth the astrologers predicted that he would be 
the ruin of the glorious house of Sam and Nariman, and the 
destruction of their race. 


Throughout Sistan the prophecy was heard 
With horror and amazement ; every town 
And city in Iran was full of woe, 
And Zal, in deepest agony and grief, 
Sent up his prayers to the Almighty Power 
That he would purify the infant's heart, 
And free it from that quality, foretold 
As the destroyer of his ancient house. 
But what are prayers, opposed by destiny ? 

The child, notwithstanding, was brought up with great care 
and attention, and when arrived at maturity, he was sent to the 
king of Kabul, whose daughter he espoused. 

Eustem was accustomed to go to Kabul every year to receive 
the tribute due to him ; but on the last occasion, it is said that 
he exacted and took a higher rate than usual, and thus put 
many of the people to distress. The king was angry, and ex- 
pressed his dissatisfaction to Shughad, who was not slow in 
uttering his own discontent, saying, " Though I am his brother, 
he has no respect for me, but treats me always like an enemy. 
For this personal hostility I long to punish him with death." 
" But how," inquired the king, " couldst thou compass that 
end ? " Shughad replied, " I have well considered the subject, 
and propose to accomplish my purpose in this manner. I shall 
feign that I have been insulted and injured by thee, and carry 
my complaint to Zal and Rustem, who will no doubt come to 
Kabul to redress my wrongs. Thou must in the meantime 
prepare for a sporting excursion, and order a number of pits to 
be dug on the road sufficiently large to hold Rustem and his 
horse, and in each several swords must be placed with their 
points and edges upwards. The mouths of the pits must then 
be slightly covered over, but so carefully that there may be no 
appearance of the earth underneath having been removed. 
Everything being thus ready, Rustem, on the pretence of going 
to the sporting ground, must be conducted by that road, and he 
will certainly fall into one of the pits, which will become his 
grave." This stratagem was highly approved by the king, and- 
it was agreed that at a royal banquet, Shughad should revile 
and irritate the king, whose indignant answer should be before 


all the assembly : " Thou hast no pretensions to be thought of 
the stock of Sam and Nariman. Zal pays thee no attention, at 
least, not such attention as he would pay to a son, and Rustem 
declares thou art not his brother ; indeed, all the family treat 
thee as a slave." At these words, Shughad affected to be greatly 
enraged, and, starting up from the banquet, hastened to Rustem 
to complain of the insult offered him by the king of Kabul. 
Rustem received him with demonstrations of affection, and 
hearing his complaint, declared that he would immediately 
proceed to Kabul, depose the king for his insolence, and place 
Shughad himself on the throne of that country. In a short 
time they arrived at the city, and were met by the king, who, 
with naked feet and in humble guise, solicited forgiveness. 
Rustem was induced to pardon the offence, and was honoured 
in return with great apparent respect, and with boundless hos- 
pitality. In the meantime, however, the pits were dug, and 
the work of destruction in progress, and Rustem was now 
invited to share the sports of the forest. The champion was 
highly gratified by the courtesy which the king displayed, and 
mounted Rakush, anticipating a day of excellent diversion. 
Shughad accompanied him, keeping on one side, whilst Rustem, 
suspecting nothing, rode boldly forward. Suddenly Rakush 
stopped, and though urged to advance, refused to move a step. 
At last the champion became angry, and struck the noble 
animal severely ; the blows made him dart forward, and in a 
moment he unfortunately fell into one of the pits. 

It was a place, deep, dark, and perilous, 
All bristled o'er with swords, leaving no chance 
Of extrication without cruel wounds ; 
And horse and rider sinking in the midst, 
Bore many a grievous stab and many a cut 
In limb and body, ghastly to the sight. 
Yet from that depth, at one prodigious spring, 
Rakush escaped with Rustem on his back ; 
But what availed that effort ? Down again 
Into another pit both fell together, 
And yet again they rose, again, again ; 
Seven times down prostrate, seven times bruised and 


They struggled on, till mounting up the edge 
Of the seventh pit, all covered with deep wounds, 
Both lay exhausted. When the champion's brain 
Grew cool, and he had power to think, he knew 
Full well to whom he owed this treachery, 
And calling to Shughad, said : " Thou, my brother ! 
Why hast thou done this wrong ? Was it for thee, 
My father's son, by wicked plot and fraud 
To work this ruin, to destroy my life ? " 
Shughad thus sternly answered : " 'Tis for all 
The blood that thou hast shed, God has decreed 
This awful vengeance, now thy time is come ! " 
Then spoke the king of Kabul, as if pity 
Had softened his false heart : " Alas 1 the day 
That thou shouldst perish, so ignobly too, 
And in my kingdom ; what a wretched fate ! 
But bring some medicine to relieve his wounds 
Quick, bring the matchless balm for Eustem's cure ; 
He must not die, the champion must not die ! " 
But Rustem scorned the offer, and in wrath, 
Thus spoke : " How many a mighty king has died, 
And left me still triumphant still in power, 
Unconquerable ; treacherous thou hast been, 
Inhuman, too, but Feramurz, the brave, 
Will be revenged upon thee for this crime." 

Rustem now turned towards Shughad, and in an altered and 
mournful tone, told him that he was at the point of death, and 
asked him to string his bow and give it to him, that he might 
seem as a scare-crow, to prevent the wolves and other wild 
animals from devouring him when dead. 

Shughad performed the task, ; nl lingered not, 
For he rejoiced at this catastrophe, 
And with a smile of fiendish satisfaction, 
Placed the strong bow before him Rustem graspe-1 
The bended horn with such an eager hand, 
That wondering at the sight, the caitiff wretch 
Shuddered with terror, and behind a tree 
Shielded himself, but nothing could avail ; 
The arrow pierced both tree and him, and they 
Were thus transfixed together. thus the hour 
Of death afforded one bright gleam of joy 
To Rustem, who, with lifted eyes to Heaven, 
Exclaimed : " Thanksgivings to the great Creator, 
For granting me the power, with my own hand, 
To be revenged upon my murderer 1 " 
So saying, the great champion breathed his last. 


And not a knightly follower remained, 

Ziiara, and the rest, in other pits, 

Dug by the traitor-king, and traitor-brother, 

Had sunk and perished, all, save one, who ticJ, 

And to the afflicted veteran at Sistan 

Told the sad tidings. Zal, in agony, 

Tore his white hair, and wildly rent his garments, 

And cried : " Why did not I die for him, why 

Was I not present, fighting by his side ? 

But he. alas ! is gone I Oh ! gone for ever." ' 

Then the old man dispatched Feramurz with a numerous 
force to Kabul, to bring away the dead body of Rustem. Upon 
his approach, the king of Kabul and his army retired to the 
mountains, and Feramurz laid waste the countiy. He found 
only the skeletons of Rustem and Zuara, the beasts of prey 
having stripped them of their flesh : he however gathered the 
bones together and conveyed them home and buried them, 
amidst the lamentations of the people. After that, he returned 
to Kabul with his army, and encountered the king, captured the 
cruel wretch, and carried him to Sistan, where he was put to 

Gushtasp having become old and infirm, bequeathed his 
empire to Bahman, and then died. He reigned one hundred 
and eight years. 


Bahman, the grandson of Gushtasp, having at the commence- 
ment of his sovereignty obtained the approbation of his people, 
by the clemency of his conduct and the apparent generosity of 
his disposition, was not long in meditating vindictive measures 
against the family of Rustem. "Did not Kai-khosrau," said 
he to his warriors, "revenge himself on -Afrasiyab for the 
murder of Saiawush ; and have not all my glorious ancestors 


pursued a similar course ? Why, then, should not I be revenged 
on the father of Rustcm for the death of Isfendiyar ? " The 
warriors, as usual, approved of the king's resolution, and in 
consequence one hundred thousand veteran troops were as- 
sembled for the immediate invasion of Sistan. "When Bahman 
had arrived on the borders of the river Behermund, he sent a 
message to Zal, frankly declaring his purpose, and that he must 
sacrifice the lives of himself and all his family as an atonement 
for Rustem's guilt in shedding the blood of Isfendiyar. 

Zal heard his menace with astonishment. 
Mingled with anguish, and he thus replied : 
"Eastern was not in fault; and thou canst tell, 
For thou wert present, how he wept, and prayed 
That he might not be bound. How frequently 
He offered all his wealth, his gold, and gems, 
To be excused that ignominious thrall ; 
And would have followed thy impatient father 
To wait upon Gushtasp ; but this was scorned ; 
Nothing but bonds would satisfy his pride ; 
All this thou know'st. Then did not I and Rust cm 
Strictly fulfil Isfendiyar's commands, 
And most assiduously endow thy mind 
With all the skill and virtues of a hero, 
That might deserve some kindness in return ? 
Now take my house, my treasure, my possessions, 
Take all ; but spare my family and me." 

The messenger went back, and told the tale 
Of Zal's deep grief with such persuasive grace, 
And piteous accent, that the heart of Bahman 
Softened at every word, and the old man 
Was not to suffer. After that was known, 
With gorgeous presents Zal went forth to meet 
The monarch in his progress to the city ; 
And having prostrated himself in low 
Humility, retired among the train 
Attendant on the king. " Thou must not walk," 
Bahman exclaimed, well skilled in all the arts 
Of smooth hypocrisy " thou art too weak ; 
Remount thy horse, for thou requirest help." 
But Zal declined the honour, and preferred 
Doing that homage as illustrious Sam. 
His conquering ancestor, had always done, 
Barefoot, in presence of the royal race. 


Fast moving onwards, Bahman soon approached 
Sistan, and entered Zal's superb abode ; 
Not as a friend, or a forgiving foe, 
But with a spirit unappeased, unsoothed ; 
True, he had spared the old man's life, but there 
His mercy stopped ; all else was confiscate, 
For every room was plundered, all the treasure 
Seized and devoted to the tyrant's use. 

After remorselessly obtaining this booty, Bahman inquired 
what had become of Feramurz, and Zal pretended that, un- 
aware of the king's approach, he had gone a-hunting. But 
this excuse was easily seen through, and the king was so 
indignant on the occasion, that he put Zal himself in fetters. 
Feramurz had, in fact, secretly retired with the Zabul army to 
a convenient distance, for the purpose of acting as necessity 
might require, and when he heard that Zal was placed in con- 
finement, he immediately marched against the invader and 
oppressor of his country. Both armies met, and closed, and 
were in desperate conflict three long days and nights. On the 
fourth day, a tremendous hurricane arose, which blew thick 
clouds of dust iu. the face of the Zabul army, and blinding 
them, impeded their progress, whilst the enemy were driven 
furiously forward by the strong wind at their backs. The 
consequence was the defeat of the Zabul troops. Feramurz, 
with a few companions, however, kept his ground, though 
assailed by showers of arrows. He tried repeatedly to get face 
to face with Bahman, but every effort was fruitless, and he felt 
convinced that his career was now nearly at an end. He 
bravely defended himself, and aimed his arrows with great 
precision ; but what is the use of art when Fortune is un- 
favourable ? 

When Fate's dark clouds portentous lower, 

And quench the light of day, 
No effort, none, of human power, 

Can chase the gloom away. 
Arrows may fly a countless shower, 

Amidst the desperate fray ; 
But not to sword or arrow death is given, 
Unless decreed by favouring Heaven. 


And it was so decreed that the exertions of Feramurz should 
be unsuccessful. His horse fell, he was wounded severely, and 
whilst, insensible, the enemy secured and conveyed him in 
fetters to Bahman, who immediately ordered him to be hanged. 
The king then directed all the people of Sisttin to be put to the 
sword ; upon which Bashutan said : " Alas ! why should the 
innocent and unoffending people be thus made to perish ? 
Hast thou no fear of God ? Thou hast taken vengeance for 
thy father, by slaying Feramurz, the son of Rustem. Is not 
that enough ? Be merciful and beneficent now to the people, 
and thank Heaven for the great victory thou hast gained." 
Bahman was thus withdrawn from his wicked purpose, and was 
also induced to liberate Zal, whose age and infirmities had 
rendered him perfectly harmless. He not only did this, but 
restored to him the possession of Sistun ; and divesting himself 
of all further revenge, returned to Persia. There he continued 
to exercise the functions of royalty, till one day he happened to 
be bitten by a snake, whose venom was so excruciating, that 
remedies were of no avail, and he died of the wound, in the 
eighth year of his reign. Although he had a son named 
Sassan, he did not appoint him his successor ; but gave the 
crown and the throne to his wife, Humai, whom he had married 
a short time before his death, saying : " If Hiimai should have 
a son, that son shall be my successor ; but if a daughter, 
Humai must continue to reign." 


Wisdom and generosity were said to have marked the 
government of Humai. In justice and beneficence she was 
unequalled. No misfortune happened in her days, even the 


poor and the needy became rich. She gave birth to a son, 
whom she entrusted to a nurse to be brought up secretly, and 
declared publicly that it had died the same day it was born. 
At this event the people rejoiced, for they were happy under 
the administration of Humai. Upon the boy attaining his 
seventh month, however, the queen sent for him, and wrapping 
him up in rich garments, put him in a box, and when she had 
fastened down the cover, gave it to two confidential servants, in 
the middle of the night, to be flung into the Euphrates. " For," 
thought she, " if he be found in the city, there will be an end 
to my authority, and the crown will be placed upon his head ; 
wiser, therefore, will it be for me to cast him into the river ; 
and if it please God to preserve him, he may be nurtured, and 
brought up in another country." Accordingly in the darkness 
of night, the box was thrown into the Euphrates, and it floated 
rapidly down the stream for some time without being observed. 

Amidst the waters, in that little ark 

Was launched the future monarch. But, vain mortal 1 

How bootless are thy most ingenious schemes, 

Thy wisest projects ! Such were thine, Humai I 

Presumptuous as thou wert to think success 

Would crown that deed unnatural and unjust. 

But human passions, human expectations 

Are happily controlled by righteous Heaven. 

In the morning the ark was noticed by a washerman ; who, 
curious to know what it contained, drew it to the shore, and 
opened the lid. Within the box he then saw splendid silk- 
embroidered scarfs and costly raiment, and upon them a lovely 
infant asleep. He immediately took up the child, and carried 
it to his wife, saying : " It was but yesterday that our own 
infant died, and now the Almighty has sent thee another in its 
place." The woman looked at the child with affection, and 
taking it in her arms fed it with her own milk. In the box 
they also found jewels and rubies, and they congratulated them- 
selves upon being at length blessed by Providence with wealth, 
and a boy at the same time They called him Darab, and the 



child soon began to speak in the language of his foster-parents. 
The washerman and his wife, for fear that the boy and the 
wealth might be discovered, thought it safest to quit their 
home, and sojourn in another country. When Darab grew up, 
he was more skilful and accomplished, and more expert at 
wrestling than other boys of a greater age. But whenever the 
washerman told him to assist in washing clothes, he always ran 
away, and would not stoop to the drudgery. This untoward 
behaviour grieved the washerman exceedingly, and he lamented 
that God had given him so useless a son, not knowing that he 
was destined to be the sovereign of all the world. 

How little thought he, whilst the task he prest, 
A purer spirit warmed the stripling's breast, 
Whose opening soul, by kingly pride inspired, 
Disdained the toil a menial slave required ; 
The royal branch on high its foliage flung, 
And showed the lofty stem from which it sprung. 

Darab was now sent to school, and he soon excelled his 
naster, who continually said to the washerman : " Thy son is 
of wonderful capacity, acute and intelligent beyond his years, 
of an enlarged understanding, and will be at least the minister 
of a king." Da"ra"b requested to have another master, and also 
a fine horse of Irak, that he might acquire the science and 
accomplishments of a warrior ; but the washerman replied that 
he was too poor to comply with his wishes, which threw the 
youth into despair, so that he did not touch a morsel of food 
for two days together. His foster-mother, deeply affected by 
his disappointment, and naturally anxious to gratify his desires, 
gave an article of value to the washerman, that he might sell 
it, and with the money purchase the horse required. The 
horse obtained, he was daily instructed in the art of using the 
bow, the javelin, and the sword, and in every exercise becoming 
a young gentleman and a warrior. So devouringly did he 
persevere in his studies, and in his exertions to excel, that he 
never remained a moment unoccupied at home or abroad. The 
development of his talents and genius suggested to him an 


inquiry who he was, and how he came into the house of a 
washerman ; and his foster-mother, in compliance with his 
entreaties, described to him the manner in which he was found. 
He had long been miserable at the thoughts of being the son of 
a washerman, but now he rejoiced, and looked upon himself as 
the son of some person of consideration. He asked her if she had 
any thing that was taken out of the box, and she replied: " Two 
valuable rubies remain." The youth requested them to be 
brought to him ; one he bound round his arm, and the other 
he sold to pay the expenses of travelling and change of place. 

At that time, it is said, the king of Eiim had sent an army 
into the country of Iran. Upon receiving this information, 
Humai told her general, named EishnawtLd, to collect a force 
corresponding with the emergency ; and he issued a proclama- 
tion, inviting all young men desirous of military glory to flock 
to his standard. Darab heard this proclamation with delight, 
and among others hastened to Kishnawad, who presented the 
young warriors as they arrived successively to Humai. The 
queen steadfastly marked the majestic form and features of 
Darab, and said in her heart : " The youth who bears this 
dignified and royal aspect, appears to be a Kaianian by birth ; '' 
and as she spoke, the instinctive feeling of a mother seemed to 
agit?te her bosom. 

The queen beheld his form and face, 
The scion of a princely race ; 
And natural instinct seemed to move 
Her heart, which spoke a mother's love ; 
She gazed, but like the lightning's ray, 
That sudden thrill soon passed away. 

The army was now in motion. After the first march, a 
tremendous wind and heavy rain came on, and all the soldiers 
were under tents, excepting Dara"b, who had none, and was 
obliged to take shelter from the inclemency of the weather 
beneath an archway, where he laid himself down, and fell 
asleep. Suddenly a supernatural voice was heard, saying : 

Y 2 


" Arch stand firm, and from thy wall 

Let no ruined fragment fall 1 

He who sleeps beneath is one 

Destined to a royal throne. 

Arch 1 a monarch claims thy care, 

The king of Persia slumbers there ! " 

The voice was heard by every one near, and Rishnawdd 
having also heard it, inquired of his people from whence it 
came. As he spoke, the voice repeated its caution : 

" Arch ! stand firm, and from thy wall 
Let no ruined fragment fall I 
Bahman's son is. in thy keeping ; 
He beneath thy roof is sleeping. 
Though the winds are loudly roaring, 
And the rain in torrents pouring, 
Arch ! stand firm, and from thy wall 
Let no loosened fragment fall." 

Again Rishnawad sent other persons to ascertain from 
whence the voice proceeded ; and they returned, saying, that 
it was not of the earth, but from Heaven. Again the caution 
sounded in his ears : 

" Arch ! stand firm, and from thy wall 
Let no loosened fragment fall." 

And his amazement increased. He now sent a person under 
the archway to see if any one was there, when the youth was 
discovered in deep sleep upon the ground, and the arch above 
him rent and broken in many parts. Rishnawa'd being 
apprised of this circumstance, desired that he might be 
awakened and brought to him. The moment he was removed, 
the whole of the arch fell down with a dreadful crash, and 
this wonderful escape was also communicated to the leader 
of the army, who by a strict and particular enquiry soon 
became acquainted with all the occurrences of the stranger's 
life. Rishnawdd also summoned before him the washerman 
and his wife, and they corroborated the story he had been told. 
Indeed he himself recognized the ruby on Ddrab's arm, which 


convinced him that he was the son of Bahman, whom Humai 
caused to be thrown into the Euphrates. Thus satisfied of hi? 
identity, he treated him with great honour, placed him on hia 
right hand, and appointed him to a high command in the 
army. Soon afterwards an engagement took place with the 
Riimis, and Dtlrsib in the advanced guard performed prodigies 
of valour. The battle lasted all day, and in the evening 
Rishnawdd bestowed upon him the praise which he merited. 
Xext day the army was again prepared for battle, when Da"rab 
proposed that the leader should remain quiet, whilst he with a 
chosen band of soldiers attacked the whole force of the enemy. 
The proposal being agreed to, he advanced with fearless 
impetuosity to the contest. 

With loosened rein he rushed along the field, 

And through opposing numbers hewed his path, 

Then pierced the Kulub-gali, the centre-host, 

Where many a warrior brave, renowned in arms, 

Fell by his sword. Like sheep before a wolf 

The harassed Eumis fled ; for none had power 

To cope with his strong arm. His wondrous might 

Alone, subdued the legions right and left ; 

And when, unwearied, he had fought his way 

To where great Kaisar stood, night came, and darkness, 

Shielding the trembling emperor of Bum, 

Snatched the expected triumph from his hands. 

Rishnawad was so filled with admiration at his splendid 
prowess, that he now offered him the most magnificent presents ; 
but when they were exposed to his view, a suit of armour was 
the only thing he would accept. 

The Rumis were entirely disheartened by his valour, and 
they said : " We understood that the sovereign of Persia was 
only a woman, and that the conquest of the empire would be 
no difficult task ; but this woman seems to be more fortunate 
than a warrior-king. Even her general remains inactive with 
the great body of his army ; and a youth, with a small force, is 
sufficient to subdue the legions of Rum ; we had, therefore, 
better return to our own country." The principal warriors 
entertained the same sentiments, and suggested to Kaisar the 


necessity of retiring from the field ; but the king opposed this 
measure, thinking it cowardly and disgraceful, and said : 

" To-morrow we renew the fight, 
To-morrow we shall try our might ; 
To-morrow, with the smiles of Heaven, 
To us the victory will be given." 

Accordingly on the following day the armies met again, and 
after a sanguinary struggle, the Persians were again trium- 
phant. Kaisar now despaired of success, sent a messenger to 
Rishnawad, in which he acknowledged the aggressions he had 
committed, and offered to pay him whatever tribute he might 
require. Kishnawad readily settled the terms of the peace ; 
and the emperor was permitted to return to his own dominions. 

After this event Eishnawa'd sent to Humai intelligence of 
the victories he had gained, and of the surprising valour of 
Darab, transmitting to her the ruby as an evidence of his birth. 
Humai was at once convinced that he was her son, for she 
well remembered the day on which he was enrolled as one of 
her soldiers, when her heart throbbed with instinctive affection 
at the sight of him ; and though she had unfortunately failed 
to question him then, she now rejoiced that he was so near 
being restored to her. She immediately proceeded to the 
Atish-gadeh, or the Fire-altar, and made an offering on the 
occasion ; and ordering a great fire to be lighted, gave immense 
sums away in charity to the poor. Having called Dardb to 
her presence, she went with a splendid retinue to meet him at 
the distance of one journey from the city ; and as soon as he 
approached, she pressed him to her bosom, and kissed his 
head and eyes with the fondest affection of a mother. Upon 
the first day of happy omen, she relinquished in his favour the 
crown and the throne, after having herself reigned thirty- two 



When Darab had ascended the throne, he conducted the 
affairs of the kingdom with humanity, justice, and benevolence ; 
and by these means secured the happiness of his people. He 
had no sooner commenced his reign, than he sent for the 
washerman and his wife, and enriched them by his gifts. 
" But," said he, " I present to you this property on these 
conditions you must not give up your occupation you must 
go every day, as usual, to the river-side, and wash clothes ; for 
perhaps in process of time you may discover another box 
floating down the stream, containing another infant ! " "With 
these conditions the washerman complied. 

(Some time afterwards the kingdom was invaded by an 
Arabian army, consisting of one hundred thousand men, and 
commanded by Shaib, a distinguished warrior. Darab was 
engaged with this army three days and three nights, and on the 
fourth morning the battle terminated, in consequence of Shaib 
being slain. The booty was immense, and a vast number of 
Arabian horses fell into the hands of the victor ; which, 
together with the quantity of treasure captured, strengthened 
greatly the resources of the state. The success of this cam- 
paign enabled Darab to extend his military operations ; and 
having put his army in order, he proceeded against Failakiis 
(Philip of Macedon), then king of Eiim, whom he defeated 
with great loss. Many were put to the sword, and the women 
and children carried into captivity. Failakiis himself took 
refuge in the fortress of Amur, from whence he sent an 
ambassador to Darab, saying, that if peace was only granted 
to him, he would willingly consent to any terms that might be 
demanded. When the ambassador arrived, Darab said to him : 
" If Failakiis will bestow upon me his daughter, Nahid, peace 
shall be instantly re-established between us I require no 
other terms." Failakus readily agreed, and sent Nahid with 
numerous splendid presents to the king of Persia, who espoused 


her, and took her with him to his own country. It so happened 
that Nahid had an offensive breath, which was extremely dis- 
agreeable to her husband, and in consequence he directed 
enquiries to be made everywhere for a remedy. No place was 
left unexplored ; at length an herb of peculiar efficacy and 
fragrance was discovered, which never failed to remove the 
imperfection complained of; and it was accordingly administered 
with confident hopes of success. Nahid was desired to wash 
her mouth with the infused herb, and in a few days her breath 
became balmy and pure. When she found she was likely to 
become a mother she did not communicate the circumstance, 
but requested permission to pay a visit to her father. The 
request was granted ; and on her arrival in Rum she was 
delivered of a son. Failakiis had no male offspring, and was 
overjoyed at this event, which he at once determined to keep 
unknown to Darab, publishing abroad that a son had been born 
in his house, and causing it to be understood that the child 
was his own. When the boy grew up, he was called Sikander : 
and, like Rustem, became highly accomplished in all the arts of 
diplomacy and war. Failakiis placed him under Aristatalis, a 
sage of great renown, and he soon equalled his master in 
learning and science. 

Darab manned another wife, by whom he had another son, 
named Dara ; and when the youth was twenty years of age, 
the father died. The period of Dardb's reign was thirty-four 


continued the government of the empire in the same 
spirit as his father ; claiming custom and tribute from the 
inferior rulers, with similar strictness and decision. After the 
death of Failakus, Sikander became the king of Rum ; and 


refusing to pay the demanded tribute to Persia, went to war 
with Bard, whom he killed in battle ; the particulars of these 
events will be presently shown. Failakus reigned twenty-four 


Failakiis, before his death, placed the crown of sovereignty 
upon the head of Sikander, and appointed Aristii, who was one 
of the disciples of the great Aflatun, his vizir. He cautioned 
him to pursue the path of virtue and rectitude, and to cast 
from his heart every feeling of vanity and pride ; above all he 
implored him to be just and merciful, and said : 

" Think not that thou art wise, but ignorant, 
And ever listen to advice and counsel ; 
We are but dust, and from the dust created ; 
And what our lives but helplessness and sorrow 1 " 

Sikander for a time attended faithfully to the instructions of 
his father, and to the counsel of Aristii, both in public and 
private affairs. 

Upon Sikander's elevation to the throne, Ddrd sent an envoy 
to him to claim the customary tribute, but he received for 
answer : " The time is past when Rum acknowledged the supe- 
riority of Persia. It is now thy turn to pay tribute to Rum. 
If my demand be refused, I will immediately invade thy domi- 
nions ; and think not that I shall be satisfied with the conquest 
of Persia alone, the whole world shall be mine ; therefore pre- 
pare for war." Dara" had no alternative, not even submission, 
and accordingly assembled his army, for Sikander was already 
in full march against him. Upon the confines of Persia both 
armies came in sight of each other, when Sikander, in the 
assumed character of an envoy, was resolved to ascertain the 
exact condition of the enemy. With this view he entered the 


Persian camp, and Dara allowing the person whom he supposed 
an ambassador, to approach, enquired what message the king of 
Rum had sent to him. " Hear me ! " said the pretended envoy : 
" Sikander has not invaded thy empire for the exclusive purpose 
of fighting, but to know its history, its laws, and customs, from 
personal inspection. His object is to travel through the whole 
world. "Why then should he make war upon thee ? Give him 
but a free passage through thy kingdom, and nothing more is 
required. However if it be thy wish to proceed to hostilities, 
he apprehends nothing from the greatness of thy power." Dara 
feas astonished at the majestic air and dignity of the envoy, 
never having witnessed his equal, and he anxiously said : 

" What is thy name, from whom art thou descended 1 

For that commanding front, that fearless eye, 

Bespeaks illustrious birth. Art thou indeed 

Sikander, whom my fancy would believe thec, 

So eloquent in speech, in mien so noble ? " 

" No ! " said the envoy, " no such rank is mine, 

Sikander holds among his numerous host 

Thousands superior to the humble slave 

Who stands before thee. It is not for me 

To put upon myself the air of kings, 

To ape their manners and their lofty state." 

Dara could not help smiling, and ordered refreshments and 
wine to be brought. He filled a cup and gave it to the envoy, 
who drank it off, but did not, according to custom, return the 
empty goblet to the cup-bearer. The cup-bearer demanded the 
cap, and Dara asked the envoy why he did not give it back. 
" It is the custom in my country," said the envoy, " when a 
cup is once given into an ambassador's hands, never to receive 
it back again." Darii was still more amused by this explana- 
tion, and presented to him another cup, and successively four, 
which the envoy did not fail to appropriate severally in the 
same way. In the evening a feast was held, and Sikander 
partook of the delicious refreshments that had been prepared 
for him ; but in the midst of the entertainment one of the 
persons present recognized him, and immediately whispered to 
Dara that his enemy was in his power. 


Sikander's sharp and cautious eye now marked 
The changing scene, and up he sprang, but first 
Snatched the four cups, and rushing from the tent, 
Vaulted upon his horse, and rode away. 
So instantaneous was the act, amazed 
The assembly rose, and presently a troop 
Was ordered in pursuit but night, dark night, 
Baffled their search, and checked their eager speed. 

As soon as he reached his own army, he sent for Aristatalis 
and his courtiers, and exultingly displayed to them the four 
golden cups. " These," said he, " have I taken from my enemy, 
I have taken them from his own table, and before his own eyes. 
His strength and numbers too I have ascertained, and my suc- 
cess is certain." No time was now lost in arrangements for the 
battle. The armies engaged, and they fought seven days with- 
out a decisive blow being struck. On the eighth, Dari was 
compelled to fly, and his legions, defeated and harassed, were 
pursued by the Kumis with great slaughter to the banks of the 
Euphrates. Sikander now returned to take possession of the 
capital. In the meantime Dara" collected his scattered forces 
together, and again tried his fortune, but he was again defeated. 
After his second success, the conqueror devoted himself so 
zealously to conciliate and win the affections of the people, that 
they soon ceased to remember their former king with any degree 
of attachment to Ms interests. Sikauder said to them : " Persia 
indeed is my inheritance : I am no stranger to you, for I am 
myself descended from Darab ; you may therefore safely trust 
to my justice and paternal care, in everything that concerns 
your welfare." The result was, that legion after legion united 
in his cause, and consolidated his power. 

When Dar was informed of the universal disaffection of his 
army, he said to the remaining friends who were personally 
devoted to him : " Alas ! my subjects have been deluded by 
the artful dissimulation and skill of Sikander ; your next mis- 
fortune will be, the captivity of your wives and children. Yes, 
your wives and children will be made the slaves of the con- 
querors." A few troops, still faithful to their unfortunate 

332 THE SHiH NiMEH. 

king, offered to make another effort against the enemy, and 
Dard, -was too grateful and too brave to discountenance their 
enthusiastic fidelity, though with such little chance of success 
A fragment of an army was consequently brought into action, 
and the result was what had been anticipated. Dara" was again 
a fugitive ; and after the defeat, escaped with three hundred 
men into the neighbouring desert. Sikander captured his wife 
and family, but magnanimously restored them to the unfortu- 
nate monarch, who, destitute of all further hope, now asked for 
a place of refuge in his own dominions, and for that he offered 
him all the buried treasure of his ancestors. Sikander, in reply, 
invited him to his presence ; and promised to restore him to 
his throne, that he might himself be enabled to pursue other 
conquests ; but Dara" refused to go, although advised by his 
nobles to accept the invitation. " I am willing to put myself 
to death," said he with emotion, " but I cannot submit to this 
degradation. I cannot go before him, and thus personally ac- 
knowledge his authority over me." Resolved upon this point, 
he wrote to Faur,* one of the sovereigns of Ind, to request his 
assistance, and Faur recommended that he should pay him a 
visit for the purpose of concerting what measures should be 
adopted. This correspondence having come to the knowledge 
of Sikander, he took care that his enemy should be intercepted 
in whatever direction he might proceed. 

Dara had two ministers, named Mahiydr and Jamusipar, 
who, finding that according to the predictions of the astrologers 
their master would in a few days fall into the hands of Sikander, 
consulted together, and thought they had better put him to 
death themselves, in order that they might get into favour with 
Sikander. It was night, and the soldiers of the escort were dis- 
persed at various distances, and the vizirs were stationed on 
each side of the king. As they travelled on, Jamusipar took 

* Faur is probably Porus. The demand of Sikander and the answer of 
Faur correspond exactly with what is said of Alexander and Porus in European 
history. Firdausi, however, kills him ; but the Greeks make him become a 
friend of Alexander. 


an opportunity of plunging his dagger into Dara's side, and 
Mahiyar gave another blow, which felled the monarch to the 
ground. They immediately sent the tidings of this event to 
Sikander, who hastened to the spot, and the opening daylight 
presented to his view the wounded king. 

Dismounting quickly, he in sorrow placed 
The head of Dara on his lap, and wept 
In bitterness of soul, to see that form 
Mangled with ghastly wounds. 

Dara still breathed ; and when he lifted up his eyes and 
beheld Sikander, he groaned deeply. Sikander said, " Eise up, 
that we may convey thee to a place of safety, and apply the 
proper remedies to thy wounds." " Alas ! " replied Diira, " the 
time for remedies is past. I leave thee to Heaven, and may thy 
reign give peace and happiness to the empire." " Never," said 
Sikander, " never did I desire to see thee thus mangled and 
fallen never to witness this sight ! If the Almighty should 
spare thy life, thou shalt again be the monarch of Persia, and 
I will go from hence. On my mother's word, thou and I are 
sons of the same father. It is this brotherly affection which 
now wrings my heart ! " Saying this, the tears chased each 
other down his cheeks in such abundance that they fell upon 
the face of Dara. Again, he said, " Thy murderers shall meet 
with merited vengeance, they shall be punished to the utter- 
most." Dara blessed him, and said, " My end is approaching, 
but thy sweet discourse and consoling kindness have banished 
all my grief. I shall now die with a mind at rest. Weep no 

My course is finished, thine is scarce begun ; 

But hear my dying wish, my last request : 

Preserve the honour of my family, 

Preserve it from disgrace. I have a daughter 

Dearer to me than life, her name is Roshung ; 

Espouse her, I beseech thee and if Heaven 

Should bless thee with a boy, I let his name be 

Isfendiyar, that he may propagate 

With zeal the sacred doctrines of Zerdusht, 


The Zendavesta, then my soul will be 
Happy in Heaven ; and he, at Nau-ruz tide, 
Will also hold the festival I love, 
And at the altar light the Holy Fire ; 
Nor will he cease his labour, till the faith 
Of Lohurasp be everywhere accepted, 
And everywhere believed the true religion." 

Sikander promised that he would assuredly fulfil the wishes 
he had expressed, and then Dar& placed the palm of his 
brother's hand on his mouth, and shortly afterwards expired. 
Sikander again wept bitterly, and then the body was placed on 
a golden couch, and he attended it in sorrow to the grave. 

After the burial of Dara, the two ministers, Jamiisipa'r and 
Mahiyar, were brought near the tomb, and executed upon the 

Just vengeance falls upon the guilty head, 

For they their generous monarch's blood had shed. 

Sikander had now no rival to the throne of Persia, and he 
commenced his government under the most favourable auspices. 
He continued the same customs and ordinances which were 
handed down to him, and retained every one in his established 
rank and occupation. He gladdened the heart by his justice 
and liberality. Keeping in mind his promise to Dara, he now 
wrote to the mother of Koshung, and communicating to her the 
dying solicitations of the king, requested her to send Roshung 
to him, that he might fulfil the last wish of his brother. The 
wife of Dara immediately complied with the command, and sent 
her daughter with various presents to Sikander, and she was on 
her arrival married to the conqueror, according to the customs 
and laws of the empire. Sikander loved her exceedingly, and 
on her account remained some time in Persia, but he at length 
determined to proceed into Ind to conquer that country of 
enchanters and enchantment. 

On approaching Ind he wrote to Kaid, summoning him to 
surrender his kingdom, and received from him the following 
answer : " I will certainly submit to thy authority, but I have 


four things which no other person in the world possesses, and 
which I cannot relinquish. I have a daughter, beautiful as an 
angel of Paradise, a wise minister, a skilful physician, and a 
goblet of inestimable value ! " Upon receiving this extra- 
ordinary reply, Sikander again addressed a letter to him, in 
which he peremptorily required all these things immediately. 
Kaid not daring to refuse, or make any attempt at evasion, 
reluctantly complied with the requisition. Sikander received 
the minister and the physician with great politeness and 
attention, and in the evening held a splendid feast, at which he 
espoused the beautiful daughter of Kaid, and taking the goblet 
from her hands, drank off the wine with which it was filled. 
After that, Kaid himself waited upon Sikander, and personally 
acknowledged his authority and dominion. 

Sikander then proceeded to claim the allegiance and homage 
of Faiir, the king of Kanuj, and wrote to him to submit to his 
power ; but Faiir returned a haughty answer, saying : 

" Kaid Indi is a coward to obey thee, 
But I am Faur, descended from a race 
Of matchless warriors j and shall I submit, 
And to a Greek ! " 

Sikander was highly incensed at this bold reply. The force 
he had now with him amounted to eighty thousand men ; that 
is, thirty thousand Iranians, forty thousand Rurnis, and ten 
thousand Indis. Faur had sixty thousand horsemen, and two 
thousand elephants. The troops of Sikander were greatly 
terrified at the sight of so many elephants, which gave the 
enemy such a tremendous superiority. Arista" talis, and some 
other ingenious counsellors, were requested to consult together 
to contrive some means of counteracting the power of the war- 
elephants, and they suggested the construction of an iron 
horse, and the figure of a rider also of iron, to be placed upon 
tvheels like a carriage, and drawn by a number of horses. A 
soldier, clothed in iron armour, was to follow the vehicle his 
hands and face besmeared with combustible matter, and this 


soldier, armed with a long staff, was at an appointed signal, to 
pierce the belly of the horse and also of the rider, previously 
filled with combustibles, so that when the ignited point came in 
contact with them, the whole engine would make a tremendous 
explosion and blaze in the air. Sikander approved of this 
invention, and collected all the blacksmiths and artizans in the 
country to construct a thousand machines of this description 
with the utmost expedition, and as soon as they were completed, 
he prepared for action. Faiir too pushed forward with his two 
thousand elephants in advance ; but when the Kamijians 
beheld such a formidable array they were surprised, and Faiir 
nnxiously inquired from his spies what it could be. Upon 
being told that it was Sikander's artillery, his troops pushed 
the elephants against the enemy with vigour, at which moment 
the combustibles were fired by the Rumis, and the machinery 
exploding, many elephants were burnt and destroyed, and the 
remainder, with the troops, fled in confusion. Sikander then 
encountered Faiir, and after a severe contest, slew him, and 
became ruler of the kingdom of Kanuj. 

After the conquest of Kami], Sikander went to Mekka, carry- 
ing thither rich presents and offerings. From thence he pro- 
ceeded to another city, where he was received with great 
homage by the most illustrious of the nation. He inquired of 
them if there was anything wonderful or extraordinary in their 
country, that he might go to see it, and they replied that there 
were two trees in the kingdom, one a male, the other a female, 
from which a voice proceeded. The male-tree spoke in the 
day, and the female-tree in the night, and whoever had a wish, 
went thither to have his desires accomplished. Sikander im- 
mediately repaired to the spot, and approaching it, he hoped in 
his heart that a considerable part of his life still remained to be 
enjoyed. When he came under the tree, a terrible sound arose 
and rung in his ears, and he asked the people present what it 
meant. The attendant priest said it implied that fourteen 
years of his life still remained. Sikander, at this interpretation 
of the prophetic sound, wept, and the burning tears ran down 


his cheeks. Again he asked, " Shall I return to Rum, and see 
my mother and children before I die ?" and the answer was, 
" Thou wilt die at Kashsiii,* 

Nor mother, nor thy family at home 
Wilt thou behold again, for thou wilt die, 
Closing thy course of glory at Kashan.'' 

Sikauder left the place in sorrow, and pursued his way 
towards Rum. In his progress he arrived at another city, and 
the inhabitants gave him the most honourable welcome, repre- 
senting to him, however, that they were dreadfully afflicted by 
the presence of two demons or giants, who constantly assailed 
them in the night, devouring men and goats and whatever 
came in their way. Sikander asked their names ; and they 
replied, Yajuj and Majuj (Gog and Magog). He immediately 
ordered a barrier to be erected five hundred yards high, and 
three hundred yards wide, and when it was finished he went 
away. The giants, notwithstanding all their efforts, were un- 
able to scale this barrier, and in consequence the inhabitants 
pursued their occupations without the fear of molestation. 

To scenes of noble daring still he turned 

His ardent spirit for he knew not fear. 

Still he led on his legions and now came 

To a' strange place, where countless numbers met 

His wondering view countless inhabitants 

Crowding the city streets, and neighbouring plains ; 

And in the distance presently he saw 

A lofty mountain reaching to the stars. 

Onward proceeding, at its foot he found 

A guardian-dragon, terrible in form, 

Ready with open jaws to crush his victim ; 

But unappalled, Sikander him beholding 

With steady eye, which scorned to turn aside, 

Sprang forward, and at once the monster slew. 

Ascending then the mountain, many a ridge, 
Oft resting on the way, he reached the summit, 
Where the dead corse of an old saint appeared 

* Kashan is here made to be the death-place of Alexander, whilst, according 
to the Greek historians, he died suddenly at Babylon, as foretold by the 
magicians, on the 21st April, B.C. 323, in the 32nd year of his age. 



Wrapt in his grave-clothes, and in gems imbedded. 
In gold and precious jewels glittering round, 
Seeming to show what man is. mortal man ! 
Wealth, worldly pomp, the baubles of ambition, 
All left behind, himself a heap of dost ! 

None ever went upon that mountain top, 
But sought for knowledge ; and Sikander hoped 
When he had reached its cloudy eminence, 
To see the visions of futurity 
Arise from that departed, holy man 1 
And soon he heard a voice : Thy time is nigh I 
Yet may I thy career on earth unfold. 
It will be thine to conquer many a realm, 
Win many a crown ; thou wilt have many friends 
And numerous foes, and thy devoted head 
Will be uplifted to the very heavens. 
Renowned and glorious shalt thou be ; thy name 
Immortal ; but, alas ! thy time is nigh ! " 
At these prophetic words Sikander wept, 
And from that ominous mountain hastened down. 

After that Sikander journeyed on to the city of Kashan, 
where he fell sick, and in a few days, according to the oracle and 
the prophecy, expired. He had scarcely breathed his last, when 
Aristii, and Bilniyas the physician, and his family, entered 
Kashan, and found him dead. They beat their faces, and tore 
their hair, and mourned for him forty days. 

The remainder of the Shah Xanieh contains nothing striking 
either in a poetical or historical point of view, and indeed 
presents little more than an enumeration of the kings who 
reigned in Persia from the time of Sikander to that of Yesdjird, 
embracing among others, the names of Ardshir, Shahpur, 
Bahrain Gor, Xusherran, and Khosni Purvis. 



THEE I invoke, the Lord of Life and Light ! 
Beyond imagination pure and bright ! 
To thee, sufficing praise no tongue can give, 
We are thy creatures, and in thee we live ! 
Thou art the summit, depth, the all in all, 
Creator, Guardian of this earthly ball ; 
Whatever is, thou art Protector, King, 
From thee all goodness, truth, and mercy spring. 
pardon the misdeeds of him who now 
Bends in thy presence with a suppliant brow. 
Teach him to tread the path thy Prophet trod ; 
To wash his heart from sin, to know his God ; 
And gently lead him to that home of rest, 
Where filled with holiest rapture dwell the blest. 

Saith not that book divine, from Heaven supplied, 
" Mustafa is the troe, the unerring guide, 
The purest, greatest Prophet ! " Next him came 
Wise Abu Buker, of unblemished name ; 
Then Omer taught the faith, unknown to guile, 
And made the world with vernal freshness smile ; 
Then Othman brave th' imperial priesthood graced ; 
All, led by him, the Prophet's faith embraced. 
The fourth was Ali ; he, the spouse adored 
Of Fatima, then spread the saving word. 
Ali, of whom Mahommed spoke elate, 
" I am the city of knowledge he my gate." 
Ali the blest. Whoever shall recline 
A supplicant at his all-powerful shrine, 
Enjoys both this life and the next ; in this, 
All earthly good, in that, eternal bliss ! 

From records true my legends I rehearse, 

z 2 


And string the pearls of wisdom iu my Verse, 

That in the glimmering days of life's decline, 

Its fruits, in wealth and honour, may be mine. 

My verse, a structure pointing to the skies ; 

Whose solid strength destroying time defies. 

All praise the noble work, save only those 

Of impious life, or base malignant foes ; 

All blest with learning read, and read again, 

The sovereign smiles, and thus approves my strain : 

" Richer by far, Firdausi, than a mine 

Of precious gems, is this bright lay of thine." 

Centuries may pass away, but still my page 

Will be the boast of each succeeding age. 

Praise, praise to Mdhmiid, who of like renown, 
In battle or the banquet, fills the throne ; 
Lord of the realms of Chin and Hindustan, 
Sovereign and Lord of Persia and Tiira"n, 
With his loud voice he rends the flintiest ear ; 
On land a tiger fierce, untouched by fear, 
And on the wave, he seems the crocodile 
'That prowls amidst the waters of the Nile. 
Generous and brave, his equal is unknown ; 
In deeds of princely worth he stands alone. 
The infant in the cradle lisps his name ; 
The world exults in Mah mud's spotless fame. 
In festive hours Heaven smiles upon his truth ; 
In combat deadly as the dragon's tooth ; 
Bounteous in all things, his exhaustless hand 
Diffuses blessings through the grateful land ; 
And, of the noblest thoughts and actions, lord ; 
The soul of Gabriel breathes in every word. 
May Heaven with added glory crown his days ; 
Praise, praise to mighty Mahimid everlasting praise ! 



, tyrant as thou art, this earthly state 
Is not eternal, but of transient date ; 
Fear God, then, and afflict not human-kind ; 
To merit Heaven, be thou to Heaven resigned. 
Afflict not even the Ant ; though weak and small, 
It breathes and lives, and life is sweet to all. 
Knowing my temper, firm, and stern, and bold, 
Did'st thou not, tyrant, tremble to behold 
My sword blood-dropping ? Had'st thou not the sense 
To shrink from giving man like me offence ? 
What could impel thee to an act so base ? 
What, but to earn and prove thy own disgrace ? 
Why was I sentenced to be trod upon, 
And crushed to death by elephants ? By one 
Whose power I scorn ! Could'st thou presume that I 
Would be appalled by thee, whom I defy ? 
I am the lion, I, inured to blood, 
And make the impious and the base my food ; 
And I could grind thy limbs, and spread them far 
As Nile's dark waters their rich treasures bear. 
Fear thee ! I fear not man, but God alone, 
I only bow to his Almighty throne. 
Inspired by Him my ready numbers flow ; 
Guarded by Him I dread no earthly foe. 
Thus in the pride of song I pass my days, 
Offering to Heaven my gratitude and praise. 

From every trace of sense and feeling free, 
When thou art dead, 'what will become of thee ? 
If thou shouldst tear me limb from limb, and cast 
My dust and ashes to the angry blast, 
Firdausi still would live, since on thy name, 
Mihnnid, I did not rest my hopes of fame 

342 THE SHiH 

In the bright page of my heroic song, 
But on the God of Heaven, to whom belong 
Boundless thanksgivings, and on Him whose love 
Supports the Faithful in the realms above, 
The mighty Prophet ! none who e'er reposed 
On Him, existence without hope has closed. 

And thou would'st hurl me underneath the tread 
Of the wild elephant, till I were dead ! 
Dead ! by that insult roused, I should become 
An elephant in power, and seal thy doom 
Mahmud ! if fear of man hath never awed 
Thy heart, at least fear thy Creator, God. 
Full many a warrior of illustrious worth, 
Full many of humble, of imperial birth : 
TUT, Selim, Jemshid, Minuchihr the brave, 
Have died ; for nothing had the power to save 
These mighty monarchs from the common doom ; 
They died, but blest in memory still they bloom. 
Thus kings too perish none on earth remain, 
Since all things human seek the dust again. 

0, had thy father graced a kingly throne, 
Thy mother been for royal virtues known, 
A different fate the poet then had shared, 
Honours and wealth had been his just reward ; 
But how remote from thee a glorious line ! 
No high, ennobling ancestry is thine ; 
From a vile stock thy bold career began, 
A Blacksmith was thy sire of Isfahan. 
Alas ! from vice can goodness ever spring ? 
Is mercy hoped for in a tyrant king ? 
Can water wash the Ethiopian white ? 
Can we remove the darkness from the night ? 
The tree to which a bitter fruit is given, 
"Would still be bitter in the bowers of Heaven ; 

THE SHlH NiMEH. 343 

And a bad heart keeps on its vicious course ; 

Or if it changes, changes for the worse ; 

Whilst streams of milk, where Eden's flowret& blow, 

Acquire more honied SAveetness as they flow. 

The reckless king who grinds the poor like thee. 

Must ever be consigned to infamy ! 

Now mark Firdausi's strain, his Book of Kings 
Will ever soar upon triumphant wings. 
All who have listened to its various lore 
Rejoice, the wise grow wiser than before ; 
Heroes of other times, of ancient days, 
For ever flourish in my sounding lays ; 
Have I not sung of Ka"us, Tiis, and Giw ; 
Of matchless Rustem, faithful, still, and true. 
Of the great Demon-binder, who could throw 
His kamund to the Heavens, and seize his foe I 
Of Hiisheng, Feridiin, and Sa"m Suwdr, 
Lohurasp, Kai-khosrau, and Isfendiyar ; 
Gushtasp, Arjasp, and him of mighty name, 
Giidarz, with eighty sons of martial fame ! 

The toil of thirty years is now complete, 
Record sublime of many a warlike feat, 
Written midst toil and trouble, but the strain 
Awakens every heart, and will remain 
A lasting stimulus to glorious deeds ; 
For even the bashful maid, who kindling reads, 
Becomes a warrior. Thirty years of care, 
Urged on by royal promise, did I bear, 
And now, deceived and scorned, the aged bard 
Is basely cheated of his pledged reward ! 

"44 THE SHlH NlMEH. 


The following is the translation of the story of Sohrab men- 
tioned in the Preface, and abridged in the body of the work. 
It forms perhaps one of the most beautiful and interesting 
episodes in the Shah Nameh. Had the poet been able to depict 
the nicer varieties of emotion and passion, the more refined 
workings of the mind under the influence of disappointment, 
love, and despair, the poem would have been still more deserving 
of praise. But, as Dr. Johnson observes of Milton, "he knew 
human nature only in the gross, and had never studied the 
shades of character, nor the combinations of concurring, or the 
perplexity of contending passions ; " yet is there much to 
admire. Sir William Jones had planned a tragedy of Sohrab, 
and intended to have arranged it with a chorus of the Magi, or 
Fire-worshippers, but it was found unfinished at the time of his 

It may be here observed, that the rules of poetical transla- 
tion are now pretty generally understood. Even in European 
languages, which are not essentially dissimilar in idiom and 
imagery, considerable latitude of expression is always allowed. 
Those who best know the peculiarities of the Persian will 
acknowledge how requisite it is to adopt a still greater freedom 
of interpretation in conveying Eastern notions into English 
verse. I have consequently paid more attention to sentiments 
than words, to ideas than expressions, avoiding all the repetitions 
and redundancies which could not be preserved with any degree 
of success ; for it was incumbent upon me to keep in mind 
that I was writing a poem in English, and that English-Persian 
will no more do than English-Greek. It was said of Dacier, 
respecting his translation of Plutarch, that " his book was not 
found to be French-Greek. He had carefully followed that rule, 
which no translator ought to lose sight of, the great rule of 
humouring the genius, and maintaining the structure, of his 
own language." 



YE, who dwell in Youth's inviting bowers, 
Waste not, in useless joy, your fleeting hours, 
But rather let the tears of sorrow roll, 
And sad reflexion fill the conscious soul. 
For many a jocund spring has passed away, 
And many a flower has blossomed, to decay ; 
And human life, still hastening to a close, 
Finds in the worthless dust its last repose. 
Still the vain world abounds in strife and hate, 
And sire and son provoke each other's fate ; 
And kindred blood by kindred hands is shed, 
And vengeance sleeps not dies not, with the dead. 
All nature fades the garden's treasures fall, 
Young bud, and citron ripe all perish, all. 

And now a tale of sorrow must be told, 
A tale of tears, derived from Miibid old, 
And thus remembered. 

With the dawn of day, 
Rustem arose, and wandering took his way, 
Armed for the chase, where sloping to the sky, 
Turin's lone wilds in sullen grandeur lie ; 
There, to dispel his melancholy mood, 
He urged his matchless steed through glen and wood. 
Flushed with the noble game which met his view, 
He starts the wild-ass o'er the glistening dew ; 
And, oft exulting, sees his quivering dart, 
Plunge through the glossy skin, and pierce the heart. 
Tired of the sport, at length, he sought the shade, 
Which near a stream embowering trees displayed, 
And with his arrow's point, a fire he raised, 
And thorns and grass before him quickly blazed. 
The severed parts upon a bough he cast, 
To catch the flames ; and when the rich repast 
Was drest ; with flesh and marrow, savory food, 


He quelled his hunger ; and the sparkling flood 
That murmured at his feet, his thirst represt ; 
Then gentle sleep composed his limbs to rest. 

Meanwhile his horse, for speed and form renown'd, 
Ranged o'er the plain with flowery herbage crown'd, 
Encumbering arms no more his sides opprest, 
No folding mail confined his ample chest,* 
Gallant and free, he left the Champion's side, 
And cropp'd the mead, or sought the cooling tide ; 
When lo ! it chanced amid that woodland chase, 
A band of horsemen, rambling near the place, 
Saw, with surprise, superior game astray, 
And rushed at once to seize the noble prey ; 
But, in the imminent struggle, two beneath 
His steel-clad hoofs received the stroke of death ; 
One proved a sterner fate for downward borne, 
The mangled head was from the shoulders torn. 
Still undismayed, again they nimbly sprang, 
And round his neck the noose entangling flung : 
Now, all in vain, he spurns the smoking ground, 
In vain the tumult echoes all around ; 
They bear him off, and view, with ardent eyes, 
His matchless beauty and majestic size ; 
Then soothe his fury, anxious to obtain, 
A bounding steed of his immortal strain. 

"When Rustem woke, and miss'd his favorite horse, 
The loved companion of his glorious course ; 
Sorrowing he rose, and, hastening thence, began 
To shape his dubious way to Samengan ; 
" Reduced to journey thus, alone ! " he said, 
" How pierce the gloom which thickens round my head ; 
" Burthen'd, on foot, a dreary waste in view, 
" Where shall I bend my steps, what path pursue ? 

* The armour called Burgustuwan almost covered the horse, and was 
usually made of leather and felt-cloth. 


" The scoffing Turks will cry, * Behold our might ! 
" ' We won the trophy from the Champion-knight ! 
" ' From him who, reckless of his fame and pride, 
" ' Thus idly slept, and thus ignobly died.' " 
Girding his loins he gathered from the field, 
His quivered stores, his beamy sword and shield, 
Harness and saddle-gear were o'er him slung, 
Bridle and mail across his shoulders hung.* 
Then looking round, with anxious eye, to meet, 
The broad impression of his charger's feet,f 
The track he hail'd, and following, onward prest, 
While grief and hope alternate filled his breast. 
O'er vale and wild-wood led, he soon descries, 
The regal city's shining turrets rise. 
And when the Champion's near approach is known, 
The usual homage waits him to the throne. 
The king, on foot, received his welcome guest 
With proffered friendship, and his coming blest : 
But Rustem frowned, and with resentment fired, 
Spoke of his wrongs, the plundered steed required. 
" I've traced his footsteps to your royal town, 
" Here must he be, protected by your crown ; 
" But if retained, if not from fetters freed, 
" My vengeance shall o'ertake the felon-deed." 

* In this hunting excursion he is completely armed, being supplied with 
spear, sword, shield, mace, bow and arrows. Like the knight-errants of 
after times, he seldom even slept unarmed. Single combat and the romantic 
enterprises of European Chivalry may indeed be traced to the East. Rustem 
was a most illustrious example of all that is pious, disinterested, and heroic. 
The adventure now describing is highly characteristic of a chivalrous age. In 
the Dissertation prefixed to Richardson's Dictionary, mention is made of a 
famous Arabian Knight-errant called Abu Mahominud Albatal, " who wandered 
every where in quest of adventures, and redressing grievances. He was killed 
in the year 738." 

t See the Story of the Horse in Zadig, which is doubtless of Oriental origin. 
In the upper parts of Hindustan, it is said that the people are exceedingly 
expert in discovering robbers by tracing the marks of their horses' feet. These 
mounted robbers are called Kussaks. The Russian Cossack is probably 
derived from the same word. 

348 THE SHlH NlMEH. 

" My honored guest ! " the wondering King replied, 
" Shall Rustem's wants or wishes be denied ? 
" But let not anger, headlong, fierce, and blind, 
" O'ercloud the virtues of a generous mind. 
" If still within the limits of my reign, 
" The well known courser shall be thine again : 
" For Rakush never can remain concealed, 
" No more than Rustem in the battle-field ! 
" Then cease to nourish useless rage, and share 
" With joyous heart my hospitable fare." 

The son of Zal now felt his wrath subdued, 
And glad sensations in his soul renewed. 
The ready herald by the King's command, 
Convened the Chiefs and Warriors of the land ; * 
And soon the banquet social glee restored, 
And China wine-cups glittered on the board ; 
And cheerful song, and music's magic power, 
And sparkling wine, beguiled the festive hour.f 
The dulcet draughts o'er Rustem's senses stole, 
And melting strains absorbed his softened soul. 
But when approached the period of repose, 
All, prompt and mindful, from the banquet rose ; 
A couch was spread well worthy such a gusst, 
Perfumed with rose and musk ; and whi a'; at rest, 
In deep sound sleep, the wearied Chair pion lay, 
Forgot were all the sorrows of the way. 

One watch had passed, and still sweet slumber shed 
Its magic power around the hero's head 

* Thus Alcinous convenes the chiefs of Phseacia in honour of Ulysses. 

t The original gives to the singers black eyes and checks like roses. These 
women are generally known by the term Ltilian, perhaps referring to their 
beauty, as Lulu signifies a pearl, a gem, a jewel ; though Ltiiu is also the 
name of a people or tribe of Persia. 

Thus Hafiz : 

" Oh, these wanton damsels, flatterers, and disturbers of the city." 

The guests drank " grief- removing wine." The Nepenthe of Homer. 
i , } iv 221. 


When forth Tahmineh came, a damsel held 
An amber taper, which the gloom dispelled, 
And near his pillow stood ; in beauty bright, 
The monarch's daughter struck his wondering sight. 
Clear as the moon, in glowing charms arrayed, 
Her winning eyes the light of heaven displayed ; 
Her cypress form entranced the gazer's view,* 
Her waving curls, the heart, resistless, drew, 
Her eye-brows like the Archer's bended bow ; 
Her ringlets, snares ; her cheek, the rose's glow,! 
Mixed with the lily, from her ear-tips hung 
Rings rich and glittering, star-like ; and her tongue, 
And lips, all sugared sweetness pearls the while 
Sparkled within a mouth formed to beguile. 
Her presence dimmed the stars, and breathing round 
Fragrance and joy, she scarcely touched the ground ,$ 
So light her step, so graceful every part 
Perfect, and suited to her spotless heart. 

Rustern, surprised, the gentle maid addressed, 
And asked what lovely stranger broke his rest. 
" What is thy name," he said, " what dost thou seek 
" Amidst the gloom of night ? Fair vision speak ! " 

" thou," she softly sigh'd, " of matchless fame ! 
" With pity hear, Tahmineh is my name ! 

* Theocritus in Idyllium, xviii. 30, compares Helen to the Cypress, but 
\\ itli us, the Cypress is uniformly consecrated to sorrow, amongst the Asiatics 
to joy and gladness. 

f "Ensnaring ringlets." Thus Shakspeare ; 

Here in her hairs, 

The painter plays the Spider and hath woven 
A golden mesh to entrap the hearts of men, 
Faster than gnats in cobwebs : But her eyes 1 


J Beauty and fragrance are amongst the poets inseparable. The Persians 
exceed even the Greeks in their love of perfume, though Anacreon thought 
it so indispensable a part of beauty, that in directing the Rhodian Artist to 
paint the mistress of his heart, he wishes even her to be pourtrayed. 

350 THE SHiH KiMEH. 

" The pangs of love my anxious heart employ, 

" And flattering promise long-expected joy ; 

" No curious eye has yet these features seen, 

" My voice unheard, beyond the sacred screen.* 

" How often have I listened with amaze, 

" To thy great deeds, enamoured of thy praise ; 

" How oft from every tongue I've heard the strain, 

" And thought of thee and sighed, and sighed again. 

" The ravenous eagle, hovering o'er his prey, 

" Starts at thy gleaming sword and flies away : 

" Thou art the slayer of the Demon brood, 

" And the fierce monsters of the echoing wood. 

" Where'er thy mace is seen, shrink back the bold, 

" Thy javelin's flash all tremble to behold. 

" Enchanted with the stories of thy fame, 

" My fluttering heart responded to thy name ; 

" And whilst their magic influence I felt, 

" In prayer for thee devotedly I knelt ; 

" And fervent vowed, thus powerful glory charms, 

" No other spouse should bless my longing arms.f 

* As a proof of her innocence Tahmfneh declares to Rustem, "No person 
has ever seen me out of my private chamber, or even heard the sound of my 
voice." It is but just to remark, that the seclusion in which women of rank 
continue in Persia, and other parts of the East, is not, by them, considered 
intolerable, or even a hardship. Custom has not only rendered it familiar, 
but happy. It has nothing of the unprofitable severity of the cloister. The 
Zenanas are supplied with every thing that can please and gratify a reasonable 
wish, and it is well known that the women of the east have influence and 
power, more flattering and solid, than the free unsecluded beauties of the 
western world. 

f Distinguished valour and achievements in war have always commanded 
admiration, and there are many instances in which women have, like 
Tahmineh, fallen in love with a hero's glory. Josephus has recorded that 
the king's daughter betrayed the city of Saba, in Ethiopia, into the hands of 
Moses, having become enamoured of him by seeing from the walls the valour 
and bravery which he displayed at the head of the Egyptian army. Dido was 
won by the celebrity of 2Eneas. Kotzebue has drawn Elvira enamoured of the 
fame and glory of Pizarro. Her passion is described with great strength and 
feeling. When at last she discovers the savage, the merciless disposition of 
the conqueror, she thus addresses him. "Thinkest thou that my love will 


" Indulgent heaven propitious to my prayer, 

" Now brings thee hither to reward my care. 

" Turan's dominions thou hast sought, alone/ 

" By night, in darkness thou, the mighty one ! 

" claim my hand, and grant my soul's desire ; 

" Ask me in marriage of my royal sire ; 

" Perhaps a boy our wedded love may crown, 

" Whose strength like thine may gain the world's renown. 

" Nay more for Sarnengiin will keep my word, 

" Rakush to thee again shall be restored." 

The damsel thus her ardent thought expressed, 
And Rustem's heart beat joyous in his breast, 
Hearing her passion not a word was lost, 
And Rakush safe, by him still valued most ; 
He called her near ; with graceful step she came, 
And marked with throbbing pulse his kindled flame. 

And now a Miibid, from the Champion-knight, 
Requests the royal sanction to the rite ; * 
O'erjoyed, the king the honoured suit approves, 
O'erjoyed to bless the doting child he loves, 
And happier still, in showering smiles around, 
To be allied to warrior so renowned. 

survive thy fame ? No ! thy glory is my idol ! I now find thee a deception, 
and Elvira is lost to thee for ever ! " 

The lovely Desdernona affords another instance. 

Oth. Her father loved me ; oft invited me ; 

Still questioned me the story of my life, 

From year to year ; the battles, sieges, fortunes, 

That I had passed. 

I ran it through even from my boyish days, 

Wherein I spoke of most disastrous chances, 

Of moving accidents by flood and field. 

She wished she had not heard it ; yet she wished, 

That heaven had made her such a man ; she thanked me : 

She loved me for the dangers I had passed ; 

And I loved her that she did pity them. OTHELLO, act i. sc. 3. 

* The marriage ceremony was performed conformably to the laws of tho 
country. There was nothing of, 

Conjugium vocat: hoc prsetexit nomine culpam. 

VIROIL, .2En. iv. 172. 


When the delighted father, doubly blest, 

Resigned his daughter to his glorious guest. 

The people shared the gladness which it gave, 

The union of the beauteous and the brave. 

To grace their nuptial day both old and young, 

The hymeneal gratulations sung : 

" May this young moon bring happiness and joy, 

" And every source of enmity destroy." 

The marriage-bower received the happy pair, 

And love and transport shower'd their blessings there. 

Ere from his lofty sphere the morn had thrown 
His glittering radiance, and in splendour shone, 
The mindful ChampioD, from his sinewy arm, 
His bracelet drew, the soul-ennobling charm ; 
And, as he held the wondrous gift with pride, 
He thus address'd his love-devoted bride ! 
" Take this," he said, "and if, by gracious heaven, 
" A daughter for thy solace should be given, 
" Let it among her ringlets be displayed, 
" And joy and honour will await the maid ; 
" But should kind fate increase the nuptial-joy, 
" And make thee mother of a blooming boy, 
" Around his arm this magic bracelet bind, 
" To fire with virtuous deeds his ripening mind ; 
" The strength of Sam will nerve his manly form, 
" In temper mild, in valour like the storm ; 
" His not the dastard fate to shrink, or turn 
" From where the lions of the battle burn ; 
" To him the soaring eagle from the sky 
" Will stoop, the bravest yield to him, or fly ; 
" Thus shall his bright career imperious claim 
" The well-won honours of immortal fame ! " 
Ardent he said, and kissed her eyes and face, 
And lingering held her in a fond embrace. 

When the bright sun his radiant brow displayed, 
And earth in all its loveliest hues arrayed, 


The Champion rose to leave his spouse's side, 
The warm affections of his weeping bride. 
For her, too soon the winged moments flew, 
Too soon, alas ! the parting hour she knew; ; 
Clasped in his arms, with many a streaming tear, 
She tried, in vain, to win his deafen'd ear ; 
Still tried, ah fruitless struggle ! to impart, 
The swelling anguish of her bursting heart. 

The father now with gratulations due 
Rustem approaches, and displays to view 
The fiery war-horse, welcome as the light 
Of heaven, to one immersed in deepest night ; 
The Champion, wild with joy, fits on the rein, 
And girds the saddle on his back again ; 
Then mounts, and leaving sire and wife behind, 
Onward to Sistan rushes like the wind. 

But when returned to Zabul's friendly shade, 
None knew what joys the Warrior had delayed ; 
Still, fond remembrance, with endearing thought, 
Oft to his mind the scene of rapture brought.* 

When nine slow-circling months had roll'd away, 
Sweet-smiling pleasure hailed the brightening day 
A wondrous boy Tahmlneh's tears supprest, 
And lull'd the sorrows of her heart to rest ; x . 

To him, predestined to be great and brave, 
The name Sohriib his tender mother gave ; 
And as he grew, amazed, the gathering throng, 
View'd his large limbs, his sinews firm and strong ; 
His infant years no soft endearment claimed : 
Athletic sports his eager soul inflamed ; 
Broad at the chest and taper round the loins, 
Where to the rising hip the body joins ; 
Hunter and wrestler ; and so great his speed, 
He could o'ertake, and hold the swiftest steed. 

* In the Argonautics of Appollonius Rhodius, the tender parting of Jason 
and Hypsipyle, is very similar to that of Rustem and Tahmineh. 


His noble aspect, and majestic grace, 

Betrayed the offspring of a glorious race. 

How, with a mother's ever anxious love, 

Still to retain him near her heart she strove ! 

For when the father's fond inquiry came, 

Cautious, she still concealed his birth and name, 

And feigii'd a daughter born, the evil fraught 

With misery to avert but vain the thought ; 

Not many years had passed, with downy flight, 

Ere he, Tahmineh's wonder and delight, 

With glistening eye, and youthful ardour warm, 

Filled her foreboding bosom with alarm. 

" now relieve my heart ! " he said, " declare, 

" From whom I sprang and breathe the vital air. 

" Since, from my childhood I have ever been, 

" Amidst my play-mates of superior mien ; 

" Should friend or foe demand my father's name, 

" Let not my silence testify my shame ! 

" If still concealed, you falter, still delay, 

" A mother's blood shall wash the crime away." 

" This wrath forego," the mother answering cried, 
" And joyful hear to whom thou art allied. 
" A glorious line precedes thy destined birth, 
" The mightiest heroes of the sons of earth. 
" The deeds of Sam remotest realms admire, 
" And Zal, and Rustem thy illustrious sire ! " 
In private, then, she Rustem's letter placed 
Before his view, and brought with eager haste 
Three sparkling rubies, wedges three of gold, 
From Persia sent " Behold," she said, " behold 
" Thy father's gifts, will these thy doubts remove 
' The costly pledges of paternal love ! 
' Behold this bracelet charm, of sovereign power 
' To baffle fate in danger's awful hour ; 
' But thou must still the perilous secret keep, 
' Nor ask the harvest of renown to reap ; 


" For \\hen, by this peculiar signet known, 

" Thy glorious father shall demand his son, 

" Doomed from her only joy in life to part, 

" think what pangs will rend thy mother's heart ! 

" Seek not the fame which only teems with woo ; 

" Af rasiyab is Rustem's deadliest foe ! 

' And if by him discovered, him I dread, 

" Revenge will fall upon thy guiltless head." 

The youth replied : " In vain thy sighs and tears, 
" The secret breathes and mocks thy idle fears. 
" Xo human power can fate's decrees control, 
" Or check the kindled ardour of my soul. 
" Then why from me the bursting truth conceal ? 
" My father's foes even now my vengeance feel ; 
" Even now in wrath my native legions rise, 
" And sounds of desolation strike the skies ; 
" Kaiis himself, hurled from his ivory throne, 
" Shall yield to Rustem the imperial crown, 
" And thou, my mother, still in tfiumph seen, 
" Of lovely Persia hailed the honoured queen ! 
" Then shall Tiinin unite beneath my band, 
'' And drive this proud oppressor from the land ! 
" Father and Son, in virtuous league combined, 
" No savage despot shall enslave mankind ; 
" When Sun and Moon o'er heaven refulgent blaze, 
" Shall little Stars obtrude their feeble rays ? * 

* In Percy's Collection, lliere is an old song which contains a similar idea. 

You meaner beauties of the night, 
That poorly satisfle our eies, 

More by your number, than your light ; 
You common people of the skies, 
What are you ^Yhen the Moon shall rise ? 


Tltf .? lucretias, speaking of Epicurus. 

Qui genus hiimanum ingenio superavit, et omneis 
tnestiuxit, stellas exortus uti tutherius Sol. 

DE HER. NAT. III. 1056. 

A A 2 


He paused, and then ; " mother, I must now 
" My father seek, and see his lofty brow ; 
" Be mine a horse, such as a prince demands, 
" Fit for the dusty field, a warrior's hands ; 
" Strong as an elephant his form should be, 
" And chested like the stag, in motion free, 
" And swift as bird, or fish ; it would disgrace 
" A warrior bold on foot to show his face." 

The mother, seeing how his heart was bent, 
His day-star rising in the firmament, 
Commands the stables to be searched to find 
Among the steeds one suited to his mind ; 
Pressing their backs he tries their stre'ngth and nerve, 
Bent double to the ground their bellies curve ; 
Not one, from neighbouring plain and mountain brought, 
Equals the wish with which his soul is fraught ; 
Fruitless on every side he anxious turns, 
Fruitless, his brain with wild impatience burns, 
But when at length they bring the destined steed, 
From Rakush bred, of lightning's winged speed, 
Fleet, as the arrow from the bow-string flies, 
Fleet, as the eagle darting through the skies, 
Rejoiced he springs, and, with a nimble bound, 
Vaults in his seat, and wheels the courser round ; 
" "With such a horse thus mounted, what remains ? 
" Kaiis, the Persian King, no longer reigns ! " 
High flushed he speaks with youthful pride elate, 
Eager to crush the Monarch's glittering state ; 
He grasps his javelin with a hero's might, 
And pants with ardour for the field of fight. 

Soon o'er the realm his fame expanding spread, 
And gathering thousands hasten'd to his aid. 
His Grand-sire, pleased, beheld the warrior-train 
Successive throng and darken all the plain ; 
And bounteously his treasures he supplied, 
Camels, and steeds, and gold. In martial pride, 


Sohrab was seen a Grecian helmet graced 

His brow and costliest mail his limbs embraced. 

Afrasiydb now hears with ardent joy, 
The bold ambition of the warrior-boy, 
Of him who, perfumed with the milky breath 
Of infancy, was threatening war and death, 
And bursting sudden from his mother's side, 
Had launched his bark upon the perilous tide. 

The insidious King sees well the tempting hour, 
Favouring his arms against the Persian power, 
And thence, in haste, the enterprise to share, 
Twelve thousand veterans selects with care ; 
To Human and Barman the charge consigns, 
And thus his force with Samengan combines ; 
But treacherous first his martial chiefs he prest, 
To keep the secret fast within their breast : 
" For this bold youth must not his father know, 
" Each must confront the other as his foe, 
" Such is my vengeance ! With unhallowed rage, 
" Father and Son shall dreadful battle wage ! 
" Unknown the youth shall Rustem's force withstand, 
" And soon o'erwhelm the bulwark of the laud. 
" Rustem removed, the Persian throne is ours, 
" An easy conquest to confederate powers ; 
" And then, secured by some propitious snare, 
" Sohnib himself our galling bonds shall wear. 
" Or should the Son by Rustem's falchion bleed, 
" The father's horror at that fatal deed, 
" Will rend his soul, and 'midst his sacred grief, 
" Kalis in vain will supplicate relief." 

The tutored chiefs advance with speed, and bring 
Imperial presents to the future king;* 

* Amongst the nations of the East, nothing can be done without presents 
between the parties, whether the negotiation be of a political, commercial, or 
of a domestic nature. Homer epeaks of presents, but they are only proffered 


In stately pomp the embassy proceeds ; 

Ten loaded camels, ten unrivalled steeds, 

A golden crown, and throne, whose jewels bright 

Gleam in the sun, and shed a sparkling light. 

A letter too the crafty tyrant sends, 

And fraudful thus the glorious aim commends. 

" If Persia's spoils invite thee to the field, 

" Accept the aid my conquering legions yield ; 

" Led by two Chiefs of valour and renown, 

" Upon thy head to place the kingly crown." 

Elate with promised fame, the youth surveys 
The regal vest, the throne's irradiant blaze, 
The golden crown, the steeds, the sumptuous load 
Of ten strong camels, craftily bestowed ; 
Salutes the Chiefs, and views on every side, 
The lengthening ranks with various arms supplied. 
The march begins the brazen drums resound,* 
His moving thousands hide the trembling ground ; 
For Persia's verdant land he wields the spear, 
And blood and havoc mark his groaning rear.f 

To check the Invader's horror-spreading course, 
The barrier-fort opposed unequal force ; 
That fort whose walls, extending wide, contained 
The stay of Persia, men to battle trained. 

conditionally, as in the Iliad, where Ulysses and Ajax endeavour to conciliate 

Ten weighty talents of the purest gold, 

And twice ten vases of refulgent mould ; 

Twelve steeds unmatched in fleetness and in force, 

And still victorious in the dusty course, 

All these, to buy his friendship, shall be paid. 

TOPE, Iliad, ix. 122. 

But in the East, the presents precede the negotiation. 

* Kus is a tymbal, or large brass drum, which is beat in the palaces or 
camps of Eastern Princes. 

t It appears throughout the Shah Nameh that whenever any army was put 
in motion, the inhabitants and the country, whether hostile or friendly, were 
equally given up to plunder and devastation. 

" Every thing in their progress was burnt and destroyed.' 


Soon as Hujir the dusky crowd descried, 

He on his own presumptuous arm relied, 

And left the fort ; in mail with shield and spear, 

Vaunting he spoke, " What hostile force is here ? 

" What Chieftain dares our war-like realms invade ? " 

" And who art thou ? " Sohrab indignant said, 

Rushing towards him with undaunted look 

" Hast thou, audacious ! nerve and soul to brook 

" The crocodile in fight, that to the strife 

" Singly thou comest, reckless of thy life ? " 

To this this foe replied" A Turk and I 
" Have never yet been bound in friendly tie ; 
" And soon thy head shall, severed by my sword, 
" Gladden the sight of Persia's mighty lord, 
" While thy torn limbs to vultures shall be given, 
" Or bleach beneath the parching blast of heaven." 

The youthful hero laughing hears the boast,* 
And now by each continual spears are tost, 
Mingling together ; like a flood of fire 
The boaster meets his adversary's ire ; 
The horse on which he rides, with thundering pace, 
Seems like a mountain moving from its base ; f 
Sternly he seeks the stripling's loins to wound, 
Bub the lance hurtless drops upon the ground ; 
Sohrab, advancing, hurls his steady spear 
Full on the middle of the vain Hujir, 
Who staggers in his seat. With proud disdain 
The youth now flings him headlong on the plain, 

* The circumstances in Sohrab's first encounter somewhat resemble the 
first engagement of young Ascanius with the boa&ter Numanus. Virgil, .ZEn. ix. 

+ The simile of a moving mountain occurs in the Iliad. Hector with his 
white plumes, is compared to a moving mountain topt with snow. Book xiii. 
754. But Virgil has added considerably to this image. The Trojan hero 
moves towards Turnus. 

Quantus Athos, nut quantus Eryx, ant ipse coniscis 

Quum freinit ilioilms, quantus, i, r auiletque nivali 

Yertice se adtollens pater Apiieiiniuus ad auras. ./En. xii. 701. 


And quick dismounting, on his heaving breast 
Triumphant stands, his Khunjer firmly prest, 
To strike the head off, but the blow was stayed 
Trembling, for life, the craven boaster prayed. 
That mercy granted eased his coward mind, 
Though, dire disgrace, in captive bonds confined, 
And sent to Human, who amazed beheld 
How soon Sohrab his daring soul had quelled. 

When Griird-afrid, a peerless warrior-dame, 
Heard of the conflict, and the hero's shame, 
Groans heaved her breast, and tears of anger flowed, 
Her tulip cheek with deeper crimson glowed ; 
Speedful, in arms magnificent arrayed, 
A foaming palfrey bore the martial maid ; 
The burnished mail her tender limbs embraced, 
Beneath her helm her clustering locks she placed ; * 
Poised in her hand an iron javelin gleamed, 
And o'er the ground its sparkling lustre streamed ; 
Accoutred thus in manly guise, no eye 
However piercing could her sex descry ; 
Now, like a lion, from the fort she bends, 
And 'midst the foe impetuously descends ; 
Fearless of soul, demands with haughty tone, 
The bravest chief, for war-like valour known, 
To try the chance of fight. In shining arms, 
Again Sohrab the glow of battle warms ; 
With scornful smiles, " Another deer ! " he cries, 
" Come to my victor-toils, another prize ! " 

Thus liid in arms, she seemed a goodly knight, 

And fit for any warlike exercise ; 
But when she list lay down her armour bright, 

And back resume her peaceful maiden's guise ; 
The fairest maid she was that ever yet, 
Prison'd her locks within a golden net, 
Or let them waving hang, with roses fair beset. 

Fletcher's Purple Island, Cant. x. 


The damsel saw his noose insidious spread, 
And soon her arrows whizzed around his head ; 
With steady skill the twanging bow she drew, 
And still her pointed darts unerring flew ; 
For when in forest sports she touched the string, 
Never escaped even bird upon the wing ; 
Furious he burned, and high his buckler held, 
To ward the storm, by growing force impell'd ; 
And tilted forward with augmented wrath, 
But Giird-afrid aspires to cross his path ; 
Now o'er her back the slacken'd bow resounds ; 
She grasps her lance, her goaded courser bounds, 
Driven on the youth with persevering might 
Unconquer'd courage still prolongs the fight ; 
The stripling Chief shields off the threaten'd blow, 
Reins in his steed, then rushes on the foe ; . 
With outstretch'd arm, he bending backwards hung, 
And, gathering strength, his pointed javelin flung ; 
Firm through her girdle belt the weapon went, 
And glancing down the polish'd armour rent. 
Staggering, and stunned by his superior force, 
She almost tumbled from her foaming horse, 
Yet unsubdued, she cut the spear in two, 
And from her side the quivering fragment drew, 
Then gain'd her seat, and onward urged her steed, 
But strong and fleet Sohrab arrests her speed : 
Strikes off her helm, and sees a woman's face, 
Radiant with blushes and commanding grace ! 
Thus undeceived, in admiration lost, 
He cries, " A woman, from the Persian hcr.t ! 
" If Persian damsels thus in arms engage, 
" Who shall repel their warrior's fiercer rage ? 
Then from his saddle thong his noose he drew, 
And round her waist the twisted loop he threw, 
" Now seek not to escape," he sharply said, 
" Such is the fate of war, unthinking maid ! 

362 THE SHlH NiMEH. 

" And, as such beauty seldom swells our pride, 
" Vain thy attempt to cast my toils aside." 

In this extreme, but one resource remained, 
Only one remedy her hope sustained, 
Expert in wiles each siren-art she knew, 
And thence exposed her blooming face to view ; 
Raising her full black orbs, serenely bright, 
In all her charms she blazed before his sight ; * 

* Gurd-afrid, engaging Sohrab, is exactly the Clorinda of Tiisso engxging 
Tancrcd, in the third Canto of Gerusalemme Liberata. 

Clorinda intanto ad incontrar 1'assalto 
Va di Tancredi, e pon la lancia in resta. 
Ferirsi alle visiere, e i tronchi in alto 
Volaro, e parte nuda ella ne resta : 
Che, rotii i lacci all'elmo suo, d'un salto, 
(Mirabil colpo) ei le balzo di testa : 
E le chiome derate al vento sparse, 
Giovane donna in mezzo al campo apparse, 

Lampeggiar gli occhi 

Percosso il Cavalier non ripercote ; 

Ne si dal fcrro a riguardarsi attende, 

Come a guardar i begli occhi, e le gote, 

Ond' Amor 1'arco inevitabil tende. Stanzas xxi. and xxiv. 

Meanwhile, her lance in rest, the warrior-dame, 
With eager haste to encounter Tancred came. 
Their vizors struck, the spears in shivers flew ; 
The virgin's face was left exposed to view. 
The thongs that held her helmet burst in twain, 
Hurled from her head, it bounded on the plain ; 
Loose in the wind, her golden tresses flowed, 
And now a maid confessed to all she stood ; 

Keen flash her eyes 

Th' enamoured warrior ne'er returns a blow, 

But views with eager gaze her charming eyes, 

From which the shaft of love unerring flies. HOOLE. 

Warrior dames have afforded numerous episodes to the Poets from the 
earliest times. Penthesilea aided the cause of Priam in the Trojan war. 
She was killed in battle by Achilles, who was so affected by her beauty, -when 
she was stripped of her armour, that he shed tears. Artemisia, according to 
Herodotus, assisted Xerxes in his expedition against Greece. Every body is 
acquainted with the noble description of Camilla in the eleventh 2Eneid. 
The Italian Poets, and our own Spenser, have not failed to take advantage of 
these examples, and hence the beautiful and interesting descriptions of female 
heroism with which their works abound. 

Where is the antique glory now become, 
That whylome wont in wemen to appeare? 
Where be the brave achievements doen by some? 
Where be the batteilles, where the shield ,ind sprare 



And thus addressed Sohrdb. " warrior brave, 

" Hear me, and thy imperiled honour save, 

" These curling tresses seen by either host, 

" A woman conquered, whence the glorious boast ?* 

" Thy startled troops will know, with inward grief, 

" A woman's arm resists their towering chief, 

" Better preserve a warrior's fair renown, 

" And let our struggle still remain unknown, 

" For who with wanton folly would expose 

" A helpless maid, to aggravate her woes ; 

" The fort, the treasure, shall thy toils repay, 

" The chief, and garrison, thy will obey, 

" And thine the honours of this dreadful day." 

Eaptured he gazed, her smiles resistless move 
The wildest transports of ungoverned love. 
Her face disclosed a paradise to view, 
Eyes like the fawn, and cheeks of rosy hue 
Thus vanquished, lost, unconscious of her aim, 
And only struggling with his amorous flame, 
He rode behind, as if compelled by fate, 
And heedless saw her gain the castle-gate. 

Safe with her friends, escaped from brand and spear, 
Smiling she stands, as if unknown to fear. 
The father now, with tearful pleasure wild, 
Clasps to his heart his fondly-foster'd child ; 
The crowding warriors round her eager bend, 
And grateful prayers to favouring heaven ascend. 

The Warrior-maids, Marpesia, Hippolyte, Lampedo, and Pentlicsilca, arc 
amongst the first described by the Historians and Poets of the West, and 
they are all of Asiatic origin. The Amazons are said to have inhabited the 
country now called Armenia. Marpesia conquered the inhabitants of Cau- 
casus, in consequence, of which the mountain was called Marpcsius Mons. 
Gurd-afrid may therefore be considered an indigenous character, and not 
derived from Western Poetry, although from the circumstance of Longinus 
having been minister and preceptor to Zenobia, it may be suspected that the 
works of Homer and Virgil were known in the East. 

* Namque, etsi nullum memorabilc nomen 
Feminea in pcena est, nee habet victoria laudem. JEneid, ii. 583. 


Now from the walls, she, with majestic air, 
Exclaims : " Thou warrior of Tiiran ! forbear, 
" "Why vex thy soul, and useless strife demand ! 
" Go, and in peace enjoy thy native land." 

Stern he rejoins : " Thou beauteous tyrant ! say, 
' Though crown'd with charms, devoted to betray, 
" When these proud walls, in dust and ruins laid, 
" Yield no defence, and thou a captive maid, 
" "Will not repentance through thy bosom dart, 
" And sorrow soften that disdainful heart ? " 

Quick she replied : " O'er Persia's fertile fields 
" The savage Turk in vain his falchion wields ; 
" When King Kaiis this bold invasion hears, 
" And mighty Rustem clad in arms appears ! 
" Destruction wide will glut the slippery plain, 
" And not one man of all thy host remain. 
" Alas ! that bravery, high as thine, should meet 
" Amidst such promise, with a sure defeat, 
" But not a gleam of hope remains for thec, 
" Thy wondrous valour cannot keep thee free.' 
" Avert the fate which o'er thy head impends, 
" Return, return, and save thy martial friends ! " 

Thus to be scorned, defrauded of his prey, 
With victory in his grasp to lose the day ! 
Shame and revenge alternate filled his mind ; 
The suburb-town to pillage he consigned, 
And devastation not a dwelling spared ; 
The very owl was from her covert scared ; 
Then thus : " Though luckless in my aim to-day, 
" To-morrow shall behold a sterner fray ; 
" This fort, in ashes, scattered o'er the plain." 
He ceased and turned towards his troops again ; 
There, at a distance from the hostile power, 
He brooding waits the slaughter-breathing hour. 

Meanwhile the sire of Gurd-afrid, who now 
Governed the fort, and feared the warrior's vow ; 


Mournful and pale, with gathering woes opprest, 

His distant Monarch trembling thus addrest. 

But first invoked the heavenly power to shed 

Its choicest blessings o'er his royal head! 

" Against our realm with numerous foot and horse, 

" A stripling warrior holds his ruthless course. 

" His lion-breast unequalled strength betrays, 

" And o'er his mien the sun's effulgence plays : 

" Sohnib his name ; like Sam Suwar he shows, 

" Or Rustern terrible amidst his foes. 

" The bold Hujir lies vanquished on the plain, 

" And drags a captive's ignominious chain ; 

" Myriads of troops besiege our tottering wall, 

" And vain the effort to suspend its fall. 

" Haste, arm for fight, this Tartar-power withstand, 

" Let sweeping Vengeance lift her flickering brand ; 

" Rustem alone may stem the roaring wave, 

" And, prompt as bold, his groaning country save. 

" Meanwhile in flight we place our only trust, 

" Ere the proud ramparts crumble in the dust." 

Swift flies the messenger through secret ways, 
And to the King the dreadful tale conveys, 
Then passed, unseen, in night's concealing shade, 
The mournful heroes and the warrior maid. 

Soon as the sun with vivifying ray, 
Gleams o'er the landscape, and renews the day ; 
The flaming troops the lofty walls surround, 
With thundering crash the bursting gates resound. 
Already are the captives bound, in thought, 
And like a herd before the conqueror brought ; 
Sohn'tb, terrific o'er the ruin, views 
His hopes deceived, but restless still pursues. 
An empty fortress mocks his searching eye, 
No steel-clad chiefs his burning wrath defy ; 
No warrior-maid reviving passion warms, 
And soothes his soul with fondly-valued charms. 


Deep in his breast he feels the amorous smart, 

And hugs her image closer to his heart. 

" Alas ! that Fate should thus invidious shroud 

" The moon's soft radiance in a gloomy cloud ; 

" Should to my eyes such winning grace display, 

" Then snatch the enchanter of my soul away ! 

" A beauteous roe my toils enclosed in vain, 

" Now I, her victim, drag the captive's chain ; 

" Strange the effects that from her charms proceed, 

" I gave the wound, and I afflicted bleed ! 

" Vanquished by her, I mourn the luckless strife ; 

" Dark, dark, and bitter, frowns my morn of life. 

" A fair unknown my tortured bosom rends, 

" Withers each joy, and every hope suspends." 

Impassioned thus Sohrab in secret sighed, 
And sought, in vain, o'er-mastering grief to hide. 
Can the heart bleed and throb from day to day, 
And yet no trace its inmost pangs betray ? * 
Love scorns control, and prompts the labouring sigh, 
Pales the red lip, and dims the lucid eye ; 

* Moore has translated the following thought from La Fosse. 

In vain the lover tries to veil 

The flame which in his bosom lies ; 
His cheeks' confusion tells the tale, 

We read it in his languid eyes : 
And though his words the heart betray, 
llis silence speaks e'en more than they. 

Thus Shakspeare : 

Fire that is closest kept, bums most of all ; 

O ! they love least, that let men know their love. 

GENT. VERONA, i. 2, SC. 


The grief that does not speak, 
Whispers the o'erfraught heart, and bids it break. 

MACBETH, iv., 3, 210. 

And Dryden ; 

Silent he wept, ashamed to show his tears. 


His look alarmed the stern Turanian Chief, 

Closely he mark'd his heart-corroding grief ; * 

And though he knew not that the martial dame, 

Had in his bosom lit the tender flame ; 

Full well he knew such deep repinings prove, 

The hapless thraldom of disastrous love. 

Full well he knew some idol's musky hair, 

Had to his youthful heart become a snare, 

But still unnoted was the gushing tear, 

Till haply he had gained his private ear : 

" In ancient times, no hero known to fame, 

" Not dead to glory e'er indulged the flame ; 

" Though beauty's smiles might charm a fleeting hour, 

" The heart, unsway'd, repelled their lasting power. 

" A warrior Chief to trembling love a prey ? 

" What ! weep for woman one inglorious day ? 

" Canst thou for love's effeminate control, 

" Barter the glory of a warrior's soul ? 

" Although a hundred damsels might be gained, 

" The hero's heart shall still be free, unchained. 

" Thou art our leader, and thy place the field 

"Where soldiers love to fight with spear and shield ; 

" And what hast thou to do with tears and smiles, 

" The silly victim to a woman's wiles ? 

" Our progress, mark ! from far Tura"n we came, 

" Through seas of blood to gain immortal fame ; 

* Literally, Human was not at first aware that Sohrab was wourulcd in tl.e 
I.IYER. In this organ, Oriental as well as the Greek and Roman pools, placj 
the residence of love. Thus Theocritus, Idyll, xiii. 71, speaking of Hercules 
lamenting the loss of Hylas, and Anacreon in the beautiful ode of Cupi.l 

Thus Horace : 

Cum tibi flagrans Amor 

Saeviet circa Jecur ulcerosn I. On. xxv. 13. 

And Shakspeare : 

Alas their love may be called appetite, 
No motion of the hiver, but the'. pal;ito. 



" And wilt thou now the tempting conquest shun, 
" When our brave arms this Barrier-fort have won ? 
" Why linger here, and trickling sorrows shed, 
" Till mighty Kaus thunders o'er thy head ! 
" Till Tiis, and Giw, and Gudarz, and Bahrain, 
" And Eustem brave, Feramurz, and Reham, 
" Shall aid the war ! A great emprise is thine, 
" At once, then, every other thought resign ; 
" For know the task which first inspired thy zeal, 
" Transcends in glory all that love can feel. 
" Rise, lead the Avar, prodigious toils require 
" Unyielding strength, and unextinguished fire ; 
" Pursue the triumph with tempestuous rage, 
" Against the world in glorious strife engage, 
" And when an empire sinks beneath thy sway, 
" (0 quickly may we hail the prosperous day,) 
" The fickle sex will then with blooming charms, 
" Adoring throng to bless thy circling arms ! " 

Human's warm speech, the spirit-stirring theme, 
Awoke Sohrab from his inglorious dream. 
No more the tear his faded cheek bedewed, 
Again ambition all his hopes renewed : 
Swell'd his bold heart with unforgotten zeal, 
The noble wrath which heroes only feel ; 
Fiercely he vowed at one tremendous stroke, 
To bow the world beneath the tyrant's yoke ! 
" Afrasiyab," he cried, " shall reign alone, 
" The mighty lord of Persia's gorgeous throne ! " 

Burning, himself, to rule this nether sphere, 
These welcome tidings charmed the despot's ear, 
Meantime Kaiis, this dire invasion known, 
Had called his chiefs around his ivory throne : 
There stood Gurgin, and Bahrain, and Gushwad 
And Tiis, and Giw, and Gudarz, and Ferhad ; 
To them he read the melancholy tale, 
Gust'hem had written of the rising bale ; 


Besought their aid and prudent choice, to form 
Some sure defence against the threatening storm. 
"With one consent they urge the strong request, 
To summon Kustem from his rural rest. 
Instant a warrior-delegate they send, 
And thus the King invites his patriot-friend, 

" To thee all praise, whose mighty arm alone, 
" Preserves the glory of the Persian throne ! 
" Lo ! Tartar hordes our happy realms invade ; 
" The tottering state requires thy powerful aid ; 
" A youthful Champion leads the ruthless host, 
" His savage country's widely-rumoured boast. 
" The Barrier-fortress sinks beneath his sway, 
" Hujir is vanquished, ruin tracks his way ; 
" Strong as a raging elephant in fight, 
" No arm but thine can match his furious might. 
" Maziuderan thy conquering prowess knew ; 
" The Demon-king thy trenchant falchion slew , 
" The rolling heavens, abash'd with fear, behold 
" Thy biting sword, thy mace adorned with gold ! * 
" Fly to the succour of a King distress'd, 
" Proud of thy love, with thy protection blest. 
" When o'er the nation dread misfortunes lower, 
" Thou art the refuge, thou the saving power. 
" The chiefs assembled claim thy patriot vows, 
" Give to thy glory all that life allows ; 
" And while no whisper breathes the direful tale, 
" 0, let thy Monarch's anxious prayers prevail." 

* " Thy mace makes the Sun weep, and thy sword inflames the Stars." (Lit. 
the planet Venus.) Although this is a strong hyperbole, there are numberless 
parallel passages, containing equally extravagant personification, in our own 
Poets. For example : "The Stars are ashamed of thy presence, and turn 
aside their sparkling eyes." (OssiAN.) 

Swift Severn's flood, 

Affrighted with their bloody looks 

Ran fearfully among the trembling reeds, ' 

And hid his crisp head in the hollow bank. 

HENRY IV Part i., i. 3' 
B B 

370 THE SHAH NAMffil. 

Closing the fragrant page * o'ercome with dread, 
The afflicted King to Giw, the warrior, said : 
" Go, bind the saddle on thy fleetest horse, 
" Outstrip the tempest in thy rapid course, 
" To Rustem swift his country's woes convey, 
" Too true art thou to linger on the way ; 
" Speed, day and night and not one instant wait, 
" Whatever hour may bring thee to his gate." 

Followed no pause to Giw enough was said, 
N"or rest, nor taste of food, his speed delayed. 
And when arrived, where Zabul bowers exhale 
Ambrosial sweets and scent the balmy gale, 
The sentinel's loud voice in Eustem's ear, 
Announced a messenger from Persia, near ; 
The Chief himself amidst his warriors stood, 
Dispensing honours to the brave and good, 
And soon as Giw had joined the martial ring, 
(The sacred envoy of the Persian King,) 
He, with becoming loyalty inspired, 
Asked what the monarch, what the state required ; 
But Giw, apart, his secret mission told, 
The written page was speedily unrolled. 

Struck with amazement, Rustem " Now on earth 
" A warrior-knight of Sam's excelling worth ? 
" "Whence comes this hero of the prosperous star ? 
" I know no Turk renowned, like him, in war ; 
" He bears the port of Rustem too, 'tis said, 
" Like Sam, like Nariman, a warrior bred ! 
" He cannot be my son, unknown to me ; 
" Reason forbids the thought it cannot be ! 
" At Samengan, where once affection smiled, 
" To me Tahmineh bore her only child, 

* The paper upon which the letters of royal and distinguished personages 
in the East arc written is usually perfumed, and covered with curious devices 
in gold. This was scented with amber. The degree of embellishment is 
generally regulated according to the rank of the party. 


" That was a daughter ? " Pondering thus he spoke, 

And then aloud " Why fear the invader's yoke ? 

" Why trembling shrink, by coward thoughts dismayed, 

" Must we not all in dust, at length, be laid ? 

" But come, to Nirum's palace, haste with me, 

" And there partake the feast from sorrow free ; 

" Breathe, but awhile ere we our toils renew, 

" And moisten the parched lip with needful dew. 

" Let plans of war another day decide, 

" We soon shall quell this youthful hero's pride. 

" The force of fire soon flutters and decays 

" When ocean, swelled by storms, its wrath displays. 

" What danger threatens ! whence the dastard fear ! 

" Rest, and at leisure share a warrior's cheer." 

In vain the Envoy prest the Monarch's grief ; 
The matchless prowess of the stripling chief ; 
How brave Hujir had felt his furious hand ; 
What thickening woes beset the shuddering land. 
But Eustem, still, delayed the parting day, 
And mirth and feasting rolled the hours away ; 
Morn following morn beheld the banquet bright, 
Music and wine prolonged the genial rite ; 
Rapt by the witchery of the melting strain, 
No thought of Kaiis touch'd his swimming brain.* 

The trumpet's clang, on fragrant breezes borne, 
Now loud salutes the fifth revolving morn ; 
The softer tones which charm'd the jocund feast, 
And all the noise of revelry, had ceased, 
The generous horse, with rich embroidery deckt, 
Whose gilded trappings sparkling light reflect, 
Bears with majestic port the Champion brave, 
And high in air the victor-banners wave. 

* Four days were consumed in uninterrupted feasting. This seems to have 
been an ancitnt practice previous to the commencement of any important under- 
taking, or at setting out on a journey. 



Prompt at the martial call, Zuuira leads 
His veteran troops from Ziibul's verdant meads,* 
Ere Eustem had approached his journey's end, 
Tiis, Giidarz, Gushwtid, met their champion-frienc. 
With customary honours ; pleased to bring 
The shield of Persia to the anxious King. 
But foaming wrath the senseless monarch swayed ; 
His friendship scorned, his mandate disobeyed, 
Beneath dark brows o'er-shadowing deep, his eye 
Red gleaming shone, like lightning through the sky 
And when the warriors met his sullen view, 
Frowning revenge, still more enraged he grew : 
Loud to the Envoy thus he fiercely cried : 
" Since Rustem has my royal power defied, 
" Had I a sword, this instant should his head 
" Roll on the ground ; but let him now be led 
" Hence, and impaled alive." f Astounded Giw 
Shrunk from such treatment of a knight so true ; 
But this resistance added to the flame, 
And both were branded with revolt and shame ; 
Both were condemned, and Tus, the stern decree 
Received, to break them on the felon-tree. 
Could daring insult, thus deliberate given, 
Escape the rage of one to frenzy driven ? 
No, from his side the nerveless Chief was flung, 
Bent to the ground. Away the Champion sprung ; 
Mounted his foaming horse, and looking round 
His boiling wrath thus rapid utterance found : 
" Ungrateful King, thy tyrant acts disgrace 
" The sacred throne, and more, the human race ; 

* Zufira, it will be remembered, was the brother of Rustem, and had the 
immediate superintendence of the Zabul troops. 

f The original is, "Seize and inflict upon him the punishment of the dar." 
According to Burhani-katia, dar is a tree upon which felons are hanged. But 
the general acceptation of the term is breaking or tearing the body upon a 


" Midst clashing swords thy recreant life I saved, 

" And am I now by Tiis contemptuous braved ? * 

" On me shall Tiis, shall Kaus dare to frown ? 

" On me, the bulwark of the regal crown ? 

" Wherefore should fear in Rustem's breast have birth, 

" Kaus, to me, a worthless clod of earth ! 

" Go, and thyself Sohrab's invasion stay, 

" Go, seize the plunderers growling o'er their prey ! 

" Wherefore to others give the base command ? 

" Go, break him on the tree with thine own hand. 

" Know, thou hast roused a warrior, great and free, 

" Who never bends to tyrant Kings like thee ! 

" Was not this untired arm triumphant seen, 

" In Misser, Rum, Mazinderan, and Chin ! 

" And must I shrink at thy imperious nod ! 

" Slave to no Prince, I only bow to God. 

" Whatever wrath from thee, proud King ! may fall, 

" For thee I fought, and I deserve it all. 

" The regal sceptre might have graced my hand, 

" I kept the laws, and scorned supreme command. 

" When Kai-kob;id on Alberz mountain strayed, 

" I drew him thence, and gave a warrior's aid ; 

" Placed on his brows the long-contested crown, 

" Worn by his sires, by sacred right his own ; 

" Strong in the cause, my conquering arms prevailed, 

" Wouldst thou have rcign'd had Rustem's valour failed 

" When the White Demon ragod in battle-fray, 

" Wouldst thou have lived had Rustem lost the day ? " 

Then to his friends : " Be wise, and shun your fate, 

" Fly the wide ruin which o'erwhelms the state ; 

* In this speech Eastern recounts the services which he had performed for 
Kaus. He speaks of his conquests in Egypt, China, Hamaveran, R&m, Suksar, 
and Mazindtran. Thus Achilles boasts of his unrequited achievements in the 
cause of Greece. 

I sacked twelve ample cities on the main, 
And twelve lay smoking on the Trojan plain. 

TOPE. niad Iz. 328. 

374 THE SHiH NlMEE. 

" The conqueror comes the scourge of great and small, 
" And vultures, following fast, will gorge on all. 
" Persia no more its injured Chief shall view " 
He said, and sternly from the court withdrew. 

The warriors now, with sad forebodings wrung, 
Torn from that hope to which they proudly clung, 
On Giidarz rest, to soothe with gentle sway, 
The frantic King, and Rustem's wrath allay. 
With bitter grief they wail misfortune's shock, 
No shepherd now to guard the timorous flock. 
Giiddrz at length, with boding cares imprest, 
Thus soothed the anger in the royal breast. 
" Say, what has Rustem done, that he should be 
" Impaled upon the ignominious tree ? 
" Degrading thought, unworthy to be bred 
" Within a royal heart, a royal head. 
" Hast thou forgot when near the Caspian-wave, 
" Defeat and ruin had appalled the brave, 
" When mighty Rustem struck the dreadful blow, 
" And nobly freed thee from the savage foe ? 
" Did Demons huge escape his flaming brand ? 
" Their reeking limbs bestrew'd the slippery strand. 
" Shall he for this resign his vital breath ? 
" What ! shall the hero's recompense be death ? 
" But who will dare a threatening step advance, 
" What earthly power can bear his withering glance ? 
" Should he to Zabul fired with wrongs return, 
" The plunder'd land will long in sorrow mourn ! 
" This direful presage all our warriors feel, 
" For who can now oppose the invader's steel ; 
" Thus is it wise thy champion to offend, 
" To urge to this extreme thy warrior-friend ? 
" Remember, passion ever scorns control, 
" And wisdom's mild decrees should rule a Monarch's soul."* 

* Literally, "Kings ought to be endowed with judgment and discretion ; 
no advantage can arise from impetuosity and rage." Gudarz was one of the 


Kaiis, relenting, heard with anxious ear, 
And groundless wrath gave place to shame and fear ; 
" Go then," he cried, " his generous aid implore, 
" And to your King the mighty Chief restore ! " 

"When Giidarz rose, and seized his courser's rein, 
A crowd of heroes followed in his train. 
To Rustem, now (respectful homage paid), 
The royal prayer he anxious thus conveyed. 
" The King, repentant, seeks thy aid again, 
" Grieved to the heart that he has given thee pain ; 
" But though his anger was unjust and strong, 
" Thy country still is guiltless of the wrong, 
" And, therefore, why abandoned thus by thee ? 
" Thy help the King himself implores through me." 
Rustem rejoined : " Unworthy the pretence, 
" And scorn and insult all my recompense ? 
" Must I be galled by his capricious mood ? 
" I, who have still his firmest champion stood ? 
" But all is past, to heaven alone resigned, 
" No human cares shall more disturb my mind ! " 
Then Giidarz thus (consummate art inspired 
His prudent tongue, with all that zeal required) ; 
" When Rustem dreads Sohrab's resistless power, 
" "Well may inferiors fly the trying hour ! 
" The dire suspicion now pervades us all, 
" Thus, unavenged, shall beauteous Persia fall ! 

greatest generals of Persia, he conquered Judea, and took Jerusalem under 
the reign of Lohurasp, of the first dynasty of Persia, and sustained many wars 
against Afrasiyab under the Kings of the second dynasty. He was the father 
of Giw, who is also celebrated for his valour in the following reigns. The 
opinion of this venerable and distinguished warrior appears to have had con- 
siderable weight and influence with Kaiis. By the persuasion of his friends 
he interferes between the King and Rustem, like Nestor, 

To calm their passions with the words of age. Iliad. 

The language is strong, and breathes more of independence than might be 
supposed in an address to a Persian despot. But Kaus was a weak Prince. 
He is everywhere called "empty brained"! and treated with very little 


" Yet, generous still, avert the lasting shame, 
" 0, still preserve thy country's glorious fame ! * 
" Or wilt thou, deaf to all our fears excite, 
" Forsake thy friends, and shun the pending fight ? 
" And worse, grief ! in thy declining days, 
" Forfeit the honours of thy country's praise ? " 
This artful censure set his soul on fire, 
But patriot firmness calm'd his burning ire ; 
And thus he said " Inured to war's alarms, 
" Did ever Rustem shun the dim of arms ? 
" Though frowns from Kaiis I disdain to bear, 
" My threateu'd country claims a warrior's care." 
He ceased, and prudent joined the circling throng, 
And in the public good forgot the private wrong. 

From far the King the generous Champion viewed, 
And rising mildly thus his speech pursued : 
" Since various tempers govern all mankind, 
" Me, nature fashioned of a froward mind ; f 
" And what the heavens spontaneously bestow, 
" Sown by their bounty must for ever grow. 
" The fit of wrath which burst within me, soon 
" Shrunk up my heart as thin as the new moon ; J 
" Else had I deemed thee still my army's boast, 
" Source of my regal power, beloved the most, 

* Ulysses thus addresses Achilles : 

But if all this relentless thou disdain, 
If honour and if interest plead in vain ; 
Yet some redress to suppliant Greece afford, 
And be, amongst her guardian gods, adored. 
If no regard thy suffering country claim, 
Ik'ur thy own glory, and the voice of fame 

POPE. Iliad, ix. 300. 

+ Kus, in acknowledging the violence of his disposition, uses a singulai 
phrase : "When you departed in anger, Champion ! I repented ; cushesfcll 
into my mouth." A similar metaphor is need in Hindustani : If a person 
falls under the displeasure of his friend, he says, " Ashes have fallen into my 
meat " : meaning, that his happiness is gone. 

+ This is one of Firddusf's favourite similes. 

" My heart became as slender as the new moon. 


" Unequalled. Every day, remembering thee, 
" I drain the wine cup, thou art all to me ; 
" I wished thee to perform that lofty part, 
" Claimed by thy valour, sanctioned by my heart ; 
" Hence thy delay my better thoughts supprcst, 
" And boisterous passions revelled in my breast ; 
" But when I saw thee from my Court retire 
" In wrath, repentance quenched my burning ire. 
" 0, let me now my keen contrition prove, 
" Again enjoy thy fellowship and love : 
" And while to thee my gratitude is known, 
" Still be the pride and glory of my throne." 

Rustein, thus answering said : " Thou art the Ivin^ 
" Source of command, pure honour's sacred spring ; 
" And here I stand to follow thy behest, 
" Obedient ever be thy will expressed, 
" And services required Old age shall see 
" My loins still bound in fealty to thee." 

To this the King : " Rejoice we then to-day, 
" And on the morrow marshal our array." 
The monarch quick commands the feast of joy, 
And social cares his buoyant mind employ, 
"Within a bower, beside a crystal spring,* 
"Where opening flowers, refreshing odours fling, 
Cheerful he sits, and forms the banquet scene, 
In regal splendour on the crowded green ; 
And as around he greets his valiant bands, 
Showers golden presents from his bounteous hands ; f 

* The beautiful arbours referred to in the text are often included within 
the walls of Eastern palaces. They are fancifully fitted up, and supplied with 
reservoirs, fountains, and flower-trees. These romantic garden-pavilions are 
called Kiosks in Turkey, and are generally situated upon an eminence near a 
Tinning stream. 
t Milton alludes to the custom in Paradise Lost : 

Where the gorgeous cast with richest hand 
Showers on her Kings barbaric pearl and gold. 

In the note on this passage by Warburton, it is said to have been an eastern 


Voluptuous damsels trill the sportive lay, 
Whose sparkling glances beam celestial day ; 
Fill'd with delight the heroes closer join, 
And quaff till midnight cups of generous wine. 

Soon as the Sun had pierced the veil of night, 
And o'er the prospect shed his earliest light, 
Kaiis, impatient, bids the clarions sound, 
The sprightly notes from, hills and rocks rebound ; 
His treasure gates are opened : and to all 
A largess given ; obedient to the call, 
His subjects gathering crowd the mountain's brow, 
And following thousands shade the vales below ; 
With shields, in armour, numerous legends bend ; 
And troops of horse the threatening lines extend. 
Beneath the tread of heroes fierce and strong, 
By war's tumultuous fury borne along, 
The firm earth shook : * the dust, in eddies driven,! 
Whirled high in air, obscured the face of heaven ; 

ceremony, at the coronation of their Kings, to powder them with gold-dust and 
seed-pearl. The expression in Firdausi is, "he showered or scattered gems. '' 
It was usual at festivals, and the custom still exists, to throw money amongst 
the people. In Hafiz, the term used is nisar, which is of the same import. 
Clarke, in the second volume of his Travels, speaks of the four principal 
Sultanas of the Seraglio at Constantinople being powdered iciik diamonds ' 
"Long spangled robes, open in front, with pantaloons embroidered in gold 
and silver, and covered by a profusion of pearls and precious stones, displayed 
their persons to great advantage. Their hair hung in loose and very thick 
tresses on each side of their cheeks, falling quite down to the waist, and 
covering their shoulders behind. Those tresses were quite powdered with 
diamonds, not displayed according to any studied arrangement, but as if 
carelessly scattered, by handfuls, among their flowing locks." Vol. ii. p. 14. 
* Ommia cum belli trepido concussa tumultu 
Horrida contremuere sub altis setheris auris. 

Lucretius, De Eer. Nat. III. 816. 
t Thus Homer: 

So wrapt in gathering dust, the Grecian train, 
A moving cloud swept on and hid the plain. 

POPE. Iliad, iii. 13. 
And Virgil : 

Hie subitam nigro glomerari pulvere nubem 

Prospiciunt Teucri, ac tenebras insurgere cainpis. ^EXEID, ix. 33. 

In the Hennosura de Angelica of the famous Lope de Yega, there is a beauti- 


Nor earth, nor sky appeared all, seeming lost, 

And swallowed up by that wide-spreading host. 

The steely armour glitfcer'd o'er the fields,* 

And lightnings flash'd from gold emblazoned shields ; 

Thou wouldst have said, the clouds had burst in showers, 

Of sparkling amber o'er the martial powers.f 

Thus, close embodied, they pursued their way, 

And reached the Barrier-fort in terrible array. 

The legions of Tiiran, with dread surprise, 
Saw o'er the plain successive myriads rise ; 
And showed them to Sohnib ; he, mounting high 
The fort, surveyed them with a fearless eye ; 
To Human, who, with withering terror pale, 
Had marked their progress through the distant vale, 
He pointed out the sight, and ardent said : 
" Dispel these woe-fraught breedings from thy head, 

ful simile, descriptive of the hostile troops of the Moors and Spaniard.?, which 
may be well applied to the motley appearance of a Persian army : 

Como en le triangular cristal se mira. 
De varies y di versos tornasoles, 
Campo, cielo, ciuclad, o mar ; y adinira 
Yer tan diversos nubes, y arreboles ; 
Assi la esquadra que entra y se retira, 
De Moros Africanos, y Espanolcs 
A la vista, qne juntos coni'undian, 
Jardin florkla en Mayo parccian : 

And in English thus : 

As in the prism we pleased survey, 
Rich prospects through the crystal play, 
The fields, the cities, clouds, aTid sea, 
Appear commingling variously ; 
Thus moving o'er the battle-plain, 
The Moors are mixed with Knights of Spain ; 
The field, confusedly bright and jjay, 
Looks like the garden's pride in May. 

In the Gulistan of Sadi there is a similar thought : 

"An assembly mixed together like a bed of roses and tulips." 

* In his descriptions of battle-array, Firdausf seldom omits "go'den 
slippers,'* which, however, I have not preserved in this place. 

t The original is Sandnrus, sandaraca ; for which I have substituted 
amber. Sandurus is the Arabic name for Gum Juniper. 


" I wage the war, Afrasiyab ! for thcc, 

" And make this desert seem a rolling sea." 

Thus, while amazement every bosom quellM, 

Sohrab, unmoved, the coming storm beheld, 

And boldly gazing on the camp around, 

Raised high the cup with wine nectarcous crowned : 

O'er him no dreams of woe insidious stole, 

No thought but joy engaged his ardent soul. 

The Persian legions had restrained their course, 
Tents and pavilions, countless foot and horse, 
Clothed all the spacious plain, and gleaming threw 
Terrific splendours on the gazer's view. 
But when the Sun had faded in the west, 
And night assumed her ebon-coloured vest, 
The mighty Chief approached the sacred throne, 
And generous thus made danger all his own : 
" The rules of war demand a previous task, 
" To watch this dreadful foe I boldly ask ; 
" With wary step the wondrous youth to view, 
" And mark the heroes who his path pursue." 
The King assents : " The task is justly thine, 
" Favourite of heaven, inspired by power divine." 
In Turkish habit, secretly arrayed, 
The lurking Champion wandered through the shade. 
And, cautious, standing near the palace gate, 
Saw how the chiefs were ranged in princely state. 

What time Sohrab his thoughts to battle turned, 
And for the first proud fruits of conquest burned, 
His mother called a warrior to his aid, 
And Zinda-ruzm his sister's call obeyed. 
To him Tahmineh gave her only joy, 
And bade him shield the bold adventurous boy : 
" But, in the dreadful strife, should danger rise, 
" Present my child before his father's eyes ! 
" By him protected, war may rage in vain, 
" Though he may never bless these arms again ! " 


This guardian prince sat on the stripling's right, 
Viewing the imperial banquet with delight 
Human and Barman, near the hero placed, 
In joyous pomp the full assembly graced ; 
A hundred valiant Chiefs begirt the throne, 
And, all elate, were chaunting his renown. 
Closely concealed, the gay and splendid scene, 
Rustern contemplates with astonished mien ; 
When Zind, retiring, marks the listener nigh, 
Watching the festal train with curious eye ; 
And well he knew, amongst his Tartar host, 
Such towering stature not a Chief could boast 
" What spy is here, close shrouded by the night ? 
" Art thou afraid to face the beams of light ? " 
But scarcely from his lips these words had past, 
Ere, fell'd to earth, he groaning breathed his last ; 
Unseen he perish'd, fate decreed the blow, 
To add fresh keenness to a parent's woe. 

Meantime Sohrab, perceiving the delay 
In Zind's return, looked round him with dismay ; 
The seat still vacant but the bitter truth, 
Full soon was known to the distracted youth ; 
Full soon he found that Zinda-ruzm was gone, 
His day of feasting and of glory done ; 
Speedful towards the fatal spot he ran, 
Where slept in bloody vest the slaughtered man. 

The lighted torches now displayed the dead, 
Stiff on the ground his graceful limbs were spread ; 
Sad sight to him who knew his guardian care, 
Now doom'd a kinsman's early loss to bear ; 
Anguish and rage devour his breast by turns, 
He vows revenge, then o'er the warrior mourns : 
And thus exclaims to each afflicted Chief : 
" No time, to-night, my friends, for useless grief ; 
" The ravenous wolf has watched his helpless prey, 
" Sprung o'er the fold, and borne its flower away ; 


" But if the heavens my lifted arm befriend, 

" Upon the guilty shall my wrath descend 

" Unsheathed, this sword shall dire revenge pursue, 

" And Persian blood the thirsty land bedew." 

Frowning he paused, and check'd the spreading woo, 

Resumed the feast, and bid the wine-cup flow ! 

The valiant Giw was sentinel that night, 
And marking dimly by the dubious light, 
A warrior form approach, he claps his hands, 
With naked sword and lifted shield he stands, 
To front the foe ; but Rustem now appears, 
And Giw the secret tale astonished hears ; 
From thence the Champion on the Monarch waits. 
The power and splendour of Sohrab relates : 
" Circled by Chiefs this glorious youth was seen, 
" Of lofty stature and majestic mien ; * 
" No Tartar region gave the hero birth : 
" Some happier portion of the spacious earth ; 
" Tall, as the graceful cypress he appears ; 
" Like Sam, the brave, his warrior-front he rears ! " 
Then having told how, while the banquet shone, 
Unhappy Zind had sunk, without a groan ; 
He forms his conquering bands in close array, 
And, cheer'd by wine, awaits the coming day. 

When now the Sun his golden buckler raised, 
And genial light through heaven diffusive blazed, 
Sohrab in mail his nervous limbs attired, 
For dreadful wrath his soul to vengeance fired ; 
With anxious haste he bent the yielding cord, 
Ring within ring, more fateful than the sword ; 

Girt with many a baron bold, 

Sublime their starry fronts they rear, 

In the midst a form divine ! GRAY. 

Beneath a sculptured arch he sits enthroned, 
The peers encircling form an awful round. 

POPE Odyssey 


Around his brows a regal helm he bound ; 
His dappled steed impatient stampt the ground. 
Thus armed, ascending where the eye could trace 
The hostile force, and mark each leader's place, 
He called Hujir, the captive Chief addressed, 
And anxious thus, his soul's desire expressed : 
" A prisoner thou, if freedom's voice can charm, 
" And dungeon darkness fill thee with alarm, 
" That freedom merit, shun severest woe, 
" And truly answer what I ask to know ! 
" If rigid truth thy ready speech attend, 
" Honours and wealth shall dignify my friend." 

" Obedient to thy wish," Hujir replied, 
" Truth thou shalt hear, whatever chance betide ; 
" For what on earth to praise has better claim ? 
" Falsehood but leads to sorrow and to shame ! " 

" Then say, what heroes lead the adverse host, 
" Where they command, what dignities they boast ; 
" Say, where does Kalis hold his kingly state,* 
" "Where Tiis, and Giidarz, on his bidding wait ; 

* Fimilar descriptions of Chiefs and encampments are common amongst 
the epic poets of the West. In the third book of the Iliad, Helen describes 
to Priam on the walls of Troy the leaders of the Grecian army. Upon this 
passage Pope says, " it is justly looked upon as an episode of great beauty, 
as well as a master-piece of conduct in Homer ; who by this means acquaints 
the readers with the figure and qualifications of each hero in a more lively 
and agreeable manner." Firdausi is entitled to equal praise for his address 
in introducing the description of the Persian army. The objection which 
Scaliger makes in asking, "how it happens that Priam, after nine years' 
siege, should be yet unacquainted with the faces of the Grecian leaders, " does 
not obtain here. Nothing can be more natural and unforced than the passage 
as it occurs in the Persian poet. The following is the opening of the parallel 
passage in Homer : 

' But lift thy eyes and say what Greek is lie, 

' (Far as from hence these aged orbs can sec,) 

' Around whose brow such martial graces shine, 

1 So tall, so awful, and almost divine ! " 

' The King of Kings, Atrides you survey, 

' Great in the war, and great in arts of sway." 
Tin's said, once more he viewed the warrior train, 
" What's he whose anus lie scatter'd on the plain?" 


" CHw, Gust'hem, and Bahrain all known to thee, 
" And where is mighty Eustem, where is he ? 
" Look round with care, their names and power disjUy 
" Or instant death shall end thy vital day." 

" Where yonder splendid tapestries extend,* 
" And o'er pavilions bright infolding bend, 
" A throne triumphal shines with sapphire rays, 
" And golden suns upon the banners blaze ; 
" Full in the centre of the hosts and round 
" The tent a hundred elephants are bound, 

Then Helen thus : " Whom your discerning eyes 

" Have singled out, is Ithacus the wise. 

" See ! bold Idomeneus superior towers 

" Amidst yon circle of his Cretan powers, 

" Great as a God." POPE. Iliad, iii. 167. 

Chapman's translation of this passage is quaintly expressed : 

Sit then, and name this goodly Greek, so tall and broadly spread ; 
Who than the rest, that stand by him, is higher than the head ; 
The bravest man I ever saw and most majesticall ; 
His only presence makes me think him king amongst them all ! ! 

Thus also the well-known imitation in the third book of Gerusalemme Libcrata : 

Erminia il vide, e dimostrollo a dito, 

Al Re pagano, e cosl a dir riprese : 

Goffredo e quel, che nel purpureo manto, 

Ha di Regio, e d'Augusto in se cotantp. 

Dimmi chi sia colni, c'ha pur vermiglia, 

La sopravesta, e seco a par si vede. 

E' Baldovin, risponde ; e ben si scopre 

Kel volto a lui fratel, ma piu nell'opre. Stanza 58, 6L 

Full on the Chief Erminia cast a look, 
Then show'd him to the King, and thus she spoke : 
' There Godfrey stands in purple vesture seen, 
' Of regal presence and exalted mien." 
' Say who is he who stands by Godfrey's side, 
' His upper garments with vermilion dyed?" 
' 'Tis Baldwin, brother to the Prince (she cried), 
In feature like, but most in deed allied." HOOLK. 

But Sohrab was more peculiarly interested in the description of those warriors 
amongst whom he expected to meet his father. On this account particularly, 
as well as with regard to its general fitness, I think that this passage is 
equal, if not superior, to that in Homer, which has given rise to so many 

* The tents and pavilions of Eastern Princes were exceedingly magnificent ; 
they were often made of silks and velvets, and ornamented with pearls and 
gold. The tent of Nadir Shah was made of scarlet and broadcloth, and lined 
with satin, richly figured over with precious stones. 


" As if, in pomp, he mocked the power of fate ; 
" There royal Kalis holds his kingly state. 

" In yonder tent which numerous guards protect, 
" Where front and rear illustrious Chiefs collect ; 
" Where horsemen wheeling seem prepared for fight, 
" Their golden armour glittering in the light ; 
" Tiis lifts his banners, deck'd with royal pride, 
" Feared by the brave, the soldier's friend and guide.* 

" That crimson tent where spear-men frowning stand, 
" And steel-clad veterans form a threatening band, 
" Holds mighty Gudarz, famed for martial fire, 
" Of eighty valiant sons the valiant sire ; 
" Yet strong in arms, he shuns inglorious ease, 
" His lion-banners floating in the breeze." 

" But mark, that green pavilion ; girt around 
" By Persian nobles, speaks the Chief renowned ; 
" Fierce on the standard, worked with curious art, 
" A hideous dragon writhing seems to start ; 
" Throned in his tent the warrior's form is seen, 
" Towering above the assembled host between ! f 
" A generous horse before him snorts and neighs, 
" The trembling earth the echoing sound conveys. 
" Like him no Champion ever met my eyes, 
" Xo horse like that for majesty and size ; 
" What Chief illustrious bears a port so high ? 
" Mark, how his standard flickers through the sky ! " 

Thus ardent spoke Sohrab. Hujir dismayed, 
Paused ere reply the dangerous truth betrayed. 
Trembling for Rustem's life the captive groaned ; 
Basely his country's glorious boast disowned, 

* The banners were adorned with the figure of an elephant, to denote hi* 
royal descent. 

t Thus in Homer : 

The king of kings majestically tall, 

Towers o'er his armies aiid out-shines them all. 

. Iliad, ii. 4S3. 



And said the Chief from distant China came 

Sohrab abrupt demands the hero's name ; 

The name unknown, grief wrings his aching heart, 

And yearning anguish speeds her venom' d dart ; 

To him his mother gave the tokens true, 

He sees them all, and all but mock his view. 

When gloomy fate descends in evil hour, 

Can human wisdom bribe her favouring power ? 

Yet, gathering hope, again with restless mien 

He marks the Chiefs who crowd the warlike scene. 

" Where numerous heroes, horse and foot, appear, 
" And brazen trumpets thrill the listening ear, 
" Behold the proud pavilion of the brave ! 
" With wolves emboss'd the silken banners wave. 
" The throne's bright gems with radiant lustre glow, 
" Slaves rank'd around with duteous homage bow. 
u What mighty Chieftain rules his cohorts there ? 
" His name and lineage, free from guile, declare I " 

" Giw, son of Giidarz, long a glorious name, 
" Whose prowess even transcends his father's fame.*" 

" Mark yonder tent of pure and dazzling white, 
" Whose rich brocade reflects a quivering light ; 
" An ebon seat surmounts the ivory throne ; 
" There frowns in state a warrior of renown. 
" The crowding slaves his awful nod obey, 
" And silver moons around his banners play ; 
" What Chief, or Prince, has grasped the hostile sword ? ' 
" Fraburz, the son of Persia's mighty lord." 

Again : " These standards shew one champion more, 
" Upon their centre flames the savage boar ; f 

* The text says that lie was also the son-in-law of Rustem. 

f The word Guraz signifies a wild boar, but this acceptation is not very 
accordant to Mussulman notions, and consequently it is not supposed, by the 
orthodox, to have that meaning in the text. It is curious that the name of 
the Warrior, Guraz, should correspond with the bearings on the stand :rd. 
This frequently obtains in the heraldry of Europe- Family bearings seem to 


" The saffron-hued pavilion bright ascends, 

" Whence many a fold of tasselled fringe depends ; 

" Who there presides ? " 

" Guraz, from heroes sprung, 
" Whose praise exceeds the power of mortal tongue." 

Thus, anxious, he explored the crowded field, 
Nor once the secret of his birth revealed ; * 
Heaven will'd it so. Pressed down by silent grief, 
Surrounding objects promised no relief. 
This world to mortals still denies repose, 
And life is still the scene of many woes. 
Again his eye, instinctive turned, descried 
The green pavilion, and the warrior's pride. 
Again he cries : " tell his glorious name ; 
" Yon gallant horse declares the hero's fame ! " 
But false Hujir the aspiring hope repelled, 
Crushed the fond wish, the soothing balm withheld, 
" And why should I conceal his name from thce ? 
" His name and title are unknown to me." 

Then thus Sohrab " In all that thou hast said, 
" No sign of Rustern have thy words conveyed ; 
" Thou sayest he leads the Persian host to arms, 
" With him has battle lost its boisterous charms ? 
" Of him no trace thy guiding hand has shewn ; 
" Can power supreme remain unmark'd, unknown ? " 

be used in every country of any degree of civilization. Krusenstern, tlie 
Russian circumnavigator, speaking of the Japanese, says, "Every one has his 
family arms worked into his clothes, in different places, about the size of a 
half dollar, a practice usual to both sexes ; and in this manner any person 
may be recognized, and the family to which he belongs easily ascertained. A 
young lady wears her father's arms until after her marriage, when she assumes 
those of her husband. The greatest mark of honour which a Prince or a 
Governor can confer upon any one, is to give him a cloak with his arms 
upon it, the person having such a one wearing his own arms upon his under 

* FirdausI considers this to be destiny ! It would have been natural in 
Sohrab to have gloried in the fame of his father, but from an inevitable dis- 
pensation, his lips are here sealed on that subject ; and he inquires of Rustern 
as if he only wanted to single him out for the purpose of destroying him. 
The people of Persia are all fatalists. 

r. r. 2 


" Perhaps returned to Zabul's verdant bowers, 
" He undisturbed enjoys his peaceful hours, 
' The venial banquets may constrain his stay, 
" And rural sports invite prolonged delay." 

" Ah ! say not thus ; the Champion of the world, 
" Shrink from the kindling war with banners furled ! * 
"It cannot be ! Say where his lightnings dart, 
" Shew me the warrior, all thou know'st impart ; 
" Treasures uncounted shall be thy reward, 
" Death changed to life, my friendship more than shared. 
" Dost thou not know what, in the royal ear, 
" The Miibid said befitting Kings to hear ? 
" * Untold, a secret is a jewel bright, 
" ' Yet profitless whilst hidden from the light ; 
" ' But when revealed, in words distinctly given, 
" ' It shines refulgent as the sun through heaven.' " f 

To him, Hujir evasive thus replies : 
" Through all the extended earth his glory flies ! 
" Whenever dangers round the nation close, 
" Rustem approaches, and repels its foes ; 
" And shouldst thou see him mix in mortal strife, 
" Thou'dst think 'twere easier to escape with life 

* The continued anxiety and persevering filial duty of Solirdb are described 
with great success. The case is unparalleled. Telemachus at once declares the 
object of his inquiries. 

My sire, I seek, where'er the voice of fame 

Has told the glories of his noble name ; 

The great Ulysses POPE. 

But Sohrab is dark and mysterious, and, as Firdausf says in another place, 
the unconscious promoter of his own destruction. 

f This passage will remind the classical reader of the speech of Themis- 
tocles, in Plutarch, addressed to Xerxes. The Persian King had assured him 
of his protection, and ordered him to declare freely whatever he had to pro- 
pose concerning Greece. Themistocles replied, " That a man's discourse was 
like a piece of tapestry which, when spread open, displays its figures ; but 
when it is folded up, they are hidden and lost ; " therefore he begged time. 
The King, delighted with the comparison, bade him take what time he 
pleased ; and he desired a year ; in which spaco he learned the Persian 
language, so as to be able to converse with the King without an interpreter. 


" From tiger fell, or demon or the fold 
" Of the chafed dragon, than his dreadful hold 
" When fiercest battle clothes the fields with fire, 
" Before his rage embodied hosts retire ! " 

" And where didst thou encountering armies see ? 
" Why Eustem's praise so proudly urge to me ? 
" Let us but meet and thou shalt trembling know, 
" How fierce that wrath which bids my bosom glow : 
" If living flames express his boundless ire, 
" Overwhelming waters quench consuming fire ! 
" And deepest darkness, glooms of ten-fold night, 
" Fly from the piercing beams of radiant light." 

Hujir shrunk back with undissembled dread, 
And thus communing with himself, he said 
" Shall I, regardless of my country, guide 
" To Rustem's tent this furious homicide ? 
" And witness there destruction to our host ? 
" The bulwark of the land for ever lost ! 
" What Chief can then the Tartar power restrain ! 
" Kalis dethroned, the mighty Rustem slain ! 
" Better a thousand deaths should lay me low, 
" Than, living, yield such triumph to the foe. 
" For in this struggle should my blood be shed, 
" No foul dishonour can pursue me, dead ; 
" No lasting shame my father's age oppress, 
" Whom eighty sons of martial courage bless ! * 
" They for their brother slain, incensed will rise, 
" And pour their vengeance on my enemies." 
Then thus aloud" Can idle words avail ? 
" Why still of Rustem urge the frequent tale ? 
" Why for the elephant-bodied hero ask ? 
" Thee, he will find, no uncongenial task. 

* Hujir was the son of Giidarz. A family of the extent mentioned in the 
text is not of rare occurrence amongst the Princes of tbe East. The King of 
Persia had, in 1809, according to Mr. Morier, "sixty-five sons!" As the 
Persians make no account of females, it is not known how many daughters 
he had. 


" Why seek pretences to destroy my life ? 

" Strike, for no Rustem views th' unequal strife ! " 

Sohrab confused, with hopeless anguish mourned, 
Back from the lofty walls he quick returned, 
And stood amazed. 

Now war and vengeance claim, 
Collected thought and deeds of mighty name ; 
The jointed mail his vigorous body clasps, 
His sinewy hand the shining javelin grasps ; 
Like a mad elephant he meets the foe, 
His steed a moving mountain deeply glow 
His cheeks with passionate ardour, as he flies 
Eesistless onwards, and with sparkling eyes, 
Full on the centre drives his daring horse * 
The yielding Persians fly his furious course ; 
As the wild ass impetuous springs away, 
When the fierce lion thunders on his prcy.f 
By every sign of strength and martial power, 
They think him Rustem in his direst hour ; 
On Kaus now his proud defiance falls, 
Scornful to him the stripling warrior calls : 
" And why art thou misnamed of royal strain ? 
" What work of thine befits the tented plain ? 
" This thirsty javelin seeks thy coward breast ; 
" Thou and thy thousands doomed to endless rest. 
" True to my oath, which time can never change, 
" On thee, proud King ! I hurl my just revenge. 

* The Kulub-gah is the centre or heart of the army, where the Sovereign 
or Chief of the troops usually remains. 

t Firdausi is generally very brief in his similes, "like a lion," "like a 
wolf," occur repeatedly. Thus in the fourth book of the Iliad, the Greeks 
and Trojans are characterized in two words, "like wolves," which Pope 
has translated : 

As o er their prey rapacious wolves engage. 

But in this place the Persian poet is more circumstantial. 

" The chiefs fled from him like wild -asses from the claws of a lion. 

THE SniH NAMEE. 391 

" The blood of Ziud inspires my burning hate, 

" And dire resentment hurries on thy fate ; 

" Whom canst thou send to try the desperate strife ? 

" What valiant Chief, regardless of his life ? 

" Where now can Fraburz, Tus, Giw, Giidarz, be, 

" And the world-conquering Rustem, where is he ? " 

Xo prompt reply from Persian lip ensued, 
Then rushing on, with demon-strength endued, 
Sohrab elate his javelin waved around, 
And hurled the bright pavilion to the ground ; 
With horror Kaiis feels destruction nigh, 
And cries : " For Rustem's needful succour fly ! 
" This frantic Turk, triumphant on the plain, 
" Withers the souls of all my warrior train." 
That instant Tiis the mighty Champion sought, 
And told the deeds the Tartar Chief had wrought ; 
" 'Tis ever thus, the brainless Monarch's due ! 
" Shame and disaster still his steps pursue ! " 
This saying, from his tent he soon descried, 
The wild confusion spreading far and wide ; 
And saddled Rakush whilst, in deep dismay, 
Girgin incessant cried " Speed, speed, away." 
Reham bound on the mace, Tiis promptly ran, 
And buckled on the broad Burgustuwan. 
Rustem, meanwhile, the thickening tumult hears 
And in his heart, untouched by human fears, 
Says : " What is this, that feeling seems to stun ! 
" This battle must be led by Ahirmun,* 
" The awful day of doom must have begun." 
In haste he arms, and mounts his bounding steed, 
The growing rage demands redoubled speed ; 
The leopard's skin he o'er his shoulders throws, 
The regal girdle round his middle glows.! 

* Ahirmun, a demon, the principle of evil. 

f This girdle was the gift of the king, as a token of affection and gratitude. 


High wave his glorious banners ; broad revealed, 
The pictured dragons glare along the field 
Borne by Ziiara. When, surprised, he views 
Sohrab, endued with ample breast and thews, 
Like Siim Suwdr, he beckons him apart ; 
The youth advances with a gallant heart, 
Willing to prove his adversary's might, 
By single combat to decide the fight ; 
And eagerly, " Together brought," he cries, 
" Eemote from us be foemen, and allies, 
" And though at once by either host surveyed, 
" Ours be the strife which asks no mortal aid." 

Rustem, considerate, view'd him o'er and o'er, 
So wondrous graceful was the form he bore, 
And frankly said : " Experience flows with age, 
" And many a foe has felt my conquering rage ; 
" Much have I seen, superior strength and art 
" Have borne my spear thro' many a demon's heart ; * 
" Only behold me on the battle plain, 
" Wait till thou scc'st this hand the war sustain, 
" And if on thee should changeful fortune smile, 
" Thou needst not fear the monster of the Nile ! f 

Jonathan gives to David, among other things, his girdle : " Because he loved 
him as his own soul." 1 Samuel, xviii. 3, 4. Thus Homer : 

CEneus a belt of matchless work bestowed, 
That rich with Tynan dye refulgent glowed. 

PorE. Iliad, vi. 219. 

And Virgil : 

Turyalus phaleras Ehamnetis, et aurca bnllis, 

Cingula, Tiburti Remulo ditissimus olini, 

Quae mittit dona, hospitio quum tangent absens, 

Csedicus : ille suo morions dat habera nepoti. 2Eneid, ix. 859. 

* The following boast of Ulysses is less questionable : 

Stand forth, ye Champions who the gauntlet wield, 

Or yc, the swiftest racers of the field ! 

Stand forth, yc wrestlers, who these pastimes grace, 

I wield the gauntlet, and I run the race ! 

In such heroic games I yield to none. POPE. Odyssey, viii. 205. 

"t A crocodile in war, with FirJausi, is a figure of great power and strength. 

THE SHln NiMEH. 393 

" But soft compassion melts my soul to save, 
" A youth so blooming with a mind so brave ! " 

The generous speech Sohrdb attentive heard, 
His heart expanding glowed at every word : 
" One question answer, and in answering shew, 
" That truth should ever from a warrior flow ; 
" Art thou not Rustem, whose exploits sublime, 
" Endear his name thro' every distant cliino ? " 

" I boast no station of exalted birth, 
" No proud pretensions to distinguished worth ; 
" To him inferior, no such powers are mine, 
" No offspring I of Nirum's glorious line ! " * 

The prompt denial dampt his filial joy, 
All hope at once forsook the Warrior-boy, 
His opening day of pleasure, and the bloom 
Of cherished life, immersed in shadowy gloom. 
Perplexed with what his mother's words implied ; 
A narrow space is now prepared, aside, 
For single combat. With disdainful glance 
Each boldly shakes his death-devoting lance, 
And rushes forward to the dubious fight ; 
Thoughts high and brave their burning souls excite ; 
Now sword to sword ; continuous strokes resound, 
Till glittering fragments strew the dusty ground. 
Each grasps his massive club with added force,! 
The folding mail is rent from either horse ; 
It seemed as if the fearful day of doom 
Had, clothed in all its withering terrors, come. 
Their shattered corslets yield defence no more 
At length they breathe, defiled with dust and gore ; 

* It is difficult to account for this denial of his name, as there appears to 
bo no equivalent cause. But all the famous heroes, described in the Shah 
Nameh, are as much distinguished for their address and cunning, as their 

t The original is Uinud, which appears to have been a weapon made of 
iron. Umud also signifies a column, a beam. 


Their gasping throats with parching thirst arc dry, 
Gloomy and fierce they roll the lowering eye, 
And frown defiance. Son and Father driven 
To mortal strife ! are these the ways of Heaven ? 
The various swarms which boundless ocean breeds, 
The countless tribes which crop the flowery meads, 
Ah 1 know their kind, but hapless man alone 
Has no instinctive feeling for his own ! 
CompelTd to pause, by every eye surveyed, 
Eustem, with shame, his wearied strength betrayed ; 
Foil'd by a youth in battle's mid career, 
His groaning spirit almost sunk with fear ; 
Recovering strength, again they fiercely meet ; 
Again they struggle with redoubled heat ; 
"With bended bows they furious now contend ; 
And feather'd shafts in rattling showers descend ; 
Thick as autumnal leaves they strew the plain,* 
Harmless their points, and all their fury vain. 
And now they seize each other's girdle-band ; 
Eustem, who, if he moved his iron hand, 
Could shake a mountain, and to whom a rock 
Seemed soft as wax, tried, with one mighty stroke, 
To hurl him thundering from his fiery steed, 
But Fate forbids the gallant youth should bleed ; 
Finding his wonted nerves relaxed, amazed 
That hand he drops which never had been raised 
Uncrowned with victory, even when demons fought, 
And pauses, wildered with despairing thought. 
Sohrab again springs with terrific grace, 
And lifts, from saddle-bow, his ponderous mace ; 
With gather'd strength the quick-descending blow 
Wounds in its fall, and stuns the unwary foe ; 

Thick as autumnal leaves that strew the brooks 

In Vallombrosa, where the Etrurian shades, 

High over-arched, imbower. HILTON. Par. Lost, i. 303. 


Then thus contemptuous : " All thy power is gone $ 
" Thy charger's strength exhausted as thy own ; 
" Thy bleeding wounds with pity I behold ; 
" seek no more the combat of the bold ! " 

Rustem to this reproach made no reply, 
But stood confused meanwhile, tumultuously 
The legions closed ; with soul-appalling force, 
Troop rushed on troop, o'erwhelming man and horse ; 
Sohrab, incensed, the Persian host engaged, 
Furious along the scattered lines he raged ; 
Fierce as a wolf he rode on every side, 
The thirsty earth with streaming gore was dyed. 
Midst the Turanians, then, the Champion sped, 
And like a tiger heaped the fields with dead. 
But when the Monarch's danger struck his thought, 
Returning swift, the stripling youth he sought ; 
Grieved to the soul, the mighty Champion view'd 
His hands and mail with Persian blood imbrued ; 
And thus exclaimed with lion-voice " say, 
" Why with the Persians dost thou war to-day ? 
" Why not with me alone decide the fight, 
" Thou'rt like a wolf that seek'st the fold by night." 

To this Sohrab his proud assent expressed 
And Eustem, answering, thus the youth addressed. 
" Night-shadows now are thickening o'er the plain, 
" The morrow's sun must see our strife again ; 
" In wrestling let us then exert our might ! " 
He said, and eve's last glimmer sunk in night.* 

Thus as the skies a deeper gloom displayed, 
The stripling's life was hastening into shade ! 

The gallant heroes to their tents retired, 
The sweets of rest their wearied limbs required : 

* Thus the single combat between Hector and A jax is ended by the approach 
of night. 

But now the night extends her awful shade, 
The goddess parts you : be the night obey'd ! 

POPE. Iliad, vii. 282 

396 THE SHiH NlMEH. 

Sohra'b, delighted with his brave career, 

Describes the fight in Hiimsin's anxious ear : 

Tells how he forced unnumbered Chiefs to yield, 

And stood himself the victor of the field ! 

" But let the morrow's dawn," he cried, " arrive, 

" And not one Persian shall the day survive ; 

" Meanwhile let wine its strengthening balm impart, 

" And add new zeal to every drooping heart." 

The valiant Giw with Rustem pondering stooJ, 

And, sad, recalled the scene of death and blood ; 

Grief and amazement heaved the frequent sigh, 

And almost froze the crimson current dry. 

Rustem, oppressed by Giw's desponding thought, 

Amidst his Chiefs the mournful Monarch sought ; 

To him he told Sohrab's tremendous sway, 

The dire misfortunes of this luckless day ; 

Told with what grasping force he tried, in vain, 

To hurl the wondrous stripling to the plain : 

" The whispering zephyr might as well aspire 

" To shake a mountain such his strength and fire. 

" But night came on and, by agreement, we 

" Must meet again to-morrow who shall be 

" Victorious, Heaven knows only : for by Heaven, 

" Victory or death to man is ever given." 

This said, the King, o'erwhelmed in deep despair, 

Passed the dread night in agony and prayer. 

The Champion, silent, joined his bands at rest, 
And spurned at length despondence from his breast ; 
Removed from all, he cheered Zuara's heart, 
And nerved his soul to bear a trying part : 
" Ere early morning gilds the etherial plain, 
" In martial order range my warrior-train ; 
" And when I meet in all his glorious pride, 
" This valiant Turk whom late my rage defied, 
" Should fortune's smiles my arduous task requite, 
" Bring them to share the triumph of my might ; 


" But should success the stripling's arm attend, 

" And dire defeat and death my glories end, 

" To their loved homes my brave associates guide ; 

" Let bowery Zabul all their sorrows hide 

" Comfort my venerable father's heart ; 

(i In gentlest words my heavy fate impart. 

" The dreadful tidings to my mother bear,* 

" And soothe her anguish with the tendercsfc care ; 

" Say, that the will of righteous Heaven decreed, 

" That thus in arms her mighty son should bleed. 

" Enough of fame my various toils acquired, 

" When warring demons, bathed in blood, expired. 

" Were life prolonged a thousand lingering years, 

" Death comes at last and ends our mortal fears ; 

" Kirshasp, and Siim, and Xariman, the best 

" And bravest heroes, who have ever blest 

" This fleeting world, were not endued with power, 

" To stay the march of fate one single hour ; 

" The world for them possessed no fixed abode, 

" The path to death's cold regions must be trod ; 

" Then, why lament the "doom ordained for all ? 

" Thus Jemshid fell, and thus must Eustem fall." 

When the bright dawn proclaimed the rising day, 
The warriors armed, impatient of delay ; 
But first Sohrab, his proud confederate nigh, 
Thus wistful spoke, as swelled the boding sigh 
" Now, mark my great antagonist in arms ! 
" His noble form my filial bosom warms ; 
" My mother's tokens shine conspicuous here, 
" And all the proofs my heart demands, appear ; 
" Sure this is Eustem, whom my eyes engage ! 
" Shall I, grief ! provoke my Father's rage ? 

* In the East, peculiarly strong attachment to the mother is universal. 
Nothing can be more affecting than the filial tenderness of llustem, or more 
rational and just than his observations on human glory. 


" Offended Naiure then would curse my name, 
" And shuddering nations echo with my shame." 
He ceased, then Human : " Vain, fantastic thought, 
" Oft have I been where Persia's Champion fought ; 
" And thou hast heard, what wonders he performed, 
" When, in his prime, Mazinderan was stormed ; 
" That horse resembles Rusfcem's, it is true, 
" But not so strong, nor beautiful to view." 

Sohrab now buckles on his war attire, 
His heart all softness, and his brain all fire ; 
Around his lips such smiles benignant played, 
He seemed to greet a friend, as thus he said : 
" Here let us sit together on the plain, 
" Here, social sit, and from the fight refrain ; 
" Ask we from heaven forgiveness of the past, 
" And bind our souls in friendship that may last ; 
" Ours be the feast let us be warm and free, 
" For powerful instinct draws me still to thee ; 
" Fain would my heart in bland affection join, 
" Then let thy generous ardour equal mine ; 
" And kindly say, with whom I now contend 
" What name distinguished boasts my warrior-friend ! 
" Thy name unfit for champion brave to hide, 
" Thy name so long, long sought, and still denied ; 
" Say, art thou Rustem, whom I burn to know ? 
" Ingenuous ay, and cease to be my fos ! " 

Sternly the mighty Champion cried, " Away, 
" Hence with thy wiles now practised to delay ; 
" The promised struggle, resolute, I claim, ; 
" Then cease to move me to an act of shame." 
Sohrab rejoined " Old man ! thou wilt not hear 
" The words of prudence uttered in thine ear ; 
" Then, Heaven ! look on." 

Preparing for the shock, 
Each binds his charger to a neighbouring rock ; 

THE SHiH NiMEH. 399 

And girds his loins, and rubs his wrists, and tries 

Their suppleness and force, with angry eyes ; 

And now they meet now rise, and now descend, 

And strong and fierce their sinewy arms extend ; 

Wrestling with all their strength they grasp and strain, 

And blood and sweat flow copious on the plain ; 

Like raging elephants they furious close ; 

Commutual wounds are given, and wrenching blows. 

Sohrab nows claps his hands, and forward springs 

Impatiently, and round the Champion clings ; 

Seizes his girdle belt, with power to tear 

The very earth asunder ; in despair 

Rustem, defeated, feels his nerves give way, 

And thundering falls. Sohrab bestrides his prey : 

Grim as the lion, prowling through the wood, 

Upon a wild ass springs, and pants for blood. 

His lifted sword had lopt the gory head, 

But Rustem, quick, with crafty ardour said : 

" One moment, hold ! what, are our laws unknown ? 

" A Chief may fight till he is twice o'erthrown ; 

" The second fall, his recreant blood is spilt, 

" These arc our laws, avoid the menaced guilt." 

Proud of his strength, and easily deceived, 
The wondering youth the artful tale believed ; 
Released his prey, and, wild as wind or wave, 
Neglecting all the prudence of the brave, 
Turned from the place, nor once the strife renewed, 
But bounded o'er the plain and other cares pursued, 
As if all memory of the war had died, 
All thoughts of him with whom his strength was tried. 

Human, confounded at the stripling's stay, 
"Went forth, and heard the fortune of the day ; 
Amazed to find the mighty Rustem freed, 
With deepest grief he wailed the luckless deed. 
" What ! loose a raging lion from the snare, 
'* And let him growling hasten to his lair ? 


" Bethink thee well ; in war, from this unwise, 

" This thoughtless act what countless woes may rise ; 

" Never again suspend the final blow, 

" Xor trust the seeming weakness of a foe ! " * 

" Hence with complaint," the dauntless youth replied, 

" To-morrow's contest shall his fate decide." 

When Rustem was released, in altered mood 
He sought the coolness of the murmuring flood ; 
There quenched his thirst; and bathed his limbs, and 


Beseeching Heaven to yield its strengthening aid. 
His pious prayer indulgent Heaven approved, 
And growing strength through all his sinews moved ; f 
Such as erewhile his towering structure knew, 
When his bold arm unconquered demons slew. 
Yet in his mien no confidence appeared, 
No ardent hope his wounded spirits cheered. 

Again they met. A glow of youthful grace, 
Diifused its radiance o'er the stripling's face, 
And when he saw in renovated guise, 
The foe so lately mastered ; with surprise, 
He cried " What ! rescued from my power, again 
" Dost thou confront me on the battle plain ? 
" Or, dost thou, wearied, draw thy vital breath, 
" And seek, from warrior bold, the shaft of death ? 
" Truth has no charms for thee, old man ; even now, 
" Some further cheat may lurk upon thy brow ; 
" Twice have I shewn thee mercy, twice thy age 
" Hath been thy safety twice it soothed my rage." 
Then mild the Champion : u Youth is proud and vain ! 
" The idle boast a warrior would disdain ; 

* Thus also Sacli, " Knowest thou what Zdl said to Rustem the Champion ? 
Fever calculate upon the weakness or insignificance of an enemy." 

*h Rustem is as much distinguished for piety as bravery. Every success is 
attributed by him to the favour of Heaven. In the achievement of his labours 
in the Heft -Khan, his devotion is constant, and he everywhere justly acknow- 
ledges that power and victory are derived from God alone. 

THE SttiH NlMElt. 401 

" This aged arm perhaps may yet control, 
" The wanton fury that inflames thy soul ! " 

Again, dismounting, each the other viewed 
With sullen glance, and swift the fight renewed ; 
Clenched front to front, again they tug and bend, 
Twist their broad limbs as every nerve would rend ; 
With rage convulsive Rustem grasps him round ; * 
Bends his strong back, and hurls him to the ground ; 
Him, who had deemed the triumph all his own ; 
But dubious of his power to keep him down, 
Like lightning quick he gives the deadly thrust, 
And spurns the Stripling weltering in the dust. 
Thus as his blood that shining steel imbrues, 
Thine too shall flow, when Destiny pursues ; f 
For when she marks the victim of her power, 
A thousand daggers speed the dying hour. 
"Writhing with pain Sohrab in murmurs sighed 
And thus to Rustem " Vaunt not, in thy pride ; 
" Upon myself this sorrow have I brought, 
" Thou but the instrument of fate which wrought 
" My downfall ; thou art guiltless guiltless quite ; 
" ! had I seen my father in the fight, 

* Thus Entellas renews the combat witb increased vigour. 

Acrior ad pugnam redit, ac vim suscitat ira. 

Turn pudor iucendit vires, et conscia virtus ^Eneid, v. 454. 

f- The expression in the original is remarkable. " Assuredly, as thou hast 
thirsted for blood, Destiny will also thirst for thine, and the very hairs upon 
thy body will become daygcrs to destroy thce." This passage is quoted in thft 
preface to the Shah Nameh, collated by order of Bayisunghur Khan, as the 
production of the poet Unsari. Unsari was one of the seven poets whom 
Mahmud appointed to give specimens of their powers in versifying the History 
of the Kings of Persia. The story of Rustem and Sohrab fell to Unsari, and 
his arrangement of it contained the above verses, which so delighted the 
Sultan that he directed the poet to undertake the whole work. This occurred 
before Firdausi was introduced at Court and eclipsed every competitor. In 
compliment to Mahmud, perhaps he ingrafted them on his own poem, 01 
more probably they have been interpolated since. 

D D 


" My glorious father! Life will soon be o'er, 
" And his great deeds enchant my soul no moie ! 
" Of him my mother gave the mark and sign, 
" For him I sought, and what an end is mine ! 
" My only wish on earth, my constant sigh, 
" Him to behold, and with that wish I die. 
" But hope not to elude his piercing sight, 
" In vain for thee the deepest glooms of night ; 
" Couldst thou through Ocean's depths for refuge fly, 
" Or midst the star-beams track the upper sky ! * 
" Eustem, with vengeance armed, will reach thee there, 
" His soul the prey of anguish and despair." 
An icy horror chills the Champion's heart, 
His brain whirls round with agonizing smart ; 
O'er his wan cheek no gushing sorrows flow, 
Senseless he sinks beneath the weight of woe ; 
Believed at length, with frenzied look, he cries : 
" Prove thou art mine, confirm my doubting eyes ! 
' For I am Rustem ! " Piercing was the groau, 
Which from burst his torn heart as wild and lone, 
He gazed upon him. Dire amazement shook 
The dying youth, and mournful thus he spoke : 
" If thou art Rustem, cruel is thy part, 
" No warmth paternal seems to fill thy heart ; 
" Else hadst thou known me when, with strong desire, 
" I fondly claimed thee for my valiant sire ; 
" Now from my body strip the shining mail, 
" Untie these bands, ere life and feeling fail ; 
" And on my arm the direful proof behold ! 
" Thy sacred bracelet of refulgent gold ! 
" "When the loud brazen drums were heard afar, 
" And, echoing round, proclaimed the pending war, 

* Literally, "Wert thou a fish in the sea, or a star in the heavens." Thui 
also JEneas to Tumus : 

Verte ornnes tete in fades ; et contrahe, quidqnid 

Sive animis sive arte vales : opta ardua pennis 

Astra sequi, clausumque cava te condere terra. JEneid, xll. 891. 


" "Whilst parting tears my mother's eyes o'erflowed, 
" This mystic gift her bursting heart bestowed : 
" ' Take this,' she said, ' thy father's token wear, 
" ' And promised glory will reward thy care.' 
" The hour is come, but fraught with bitterest woe, 
" We meet in blood to wail the fatal blow." 

The loosened mail unfolds the bracelet bright, 
Unhappy gift ! to Rustem's wildered sight ; 
Prostrate he falls " By my unnatural hand, 
" My son, my son is slain and from the land 
" Uprooted." Frantic, in the dust his hair 
He rends in agony and deep despair ; 
The western sun had disappeared in gloom, 
And still, the Champion wept his cruel doom ; 
His wondering legions marked the long delay, 
And, seeing Rakush riderless astray, 
The rumour quick to Persia's Monarch spread, 
And there described the mighty Rustem dead. 
Kaiis, alarmed, the fatal tidings hears ; 
His bosom quivers with increasing fears. 
" Speed, speed, and see what has befallen to-day 
" To cause these groans and tears what fatal fray ! 
" If he be lost, if breathless on the ground, 
" And this young warrior, with the conquest crowned 
" Then must I, humbled, from my kingdom torn, 
"Wander, like Jemshid, through the world forlorn."* 

The army roused, rushed o'er the dusty plain, 
Urged by the Monarch to revenge the slain ; 
Wild consternation saddened every face, 
Tiis winged with horror sought the fatal place, 
And there beheld the agonizing sight, 
The murderous end of that unnatural fight. 
Sohrab, still breathing, hears the shrill alarms, 
His gentle speech suspends the clang of arms : 

* Jemshtd's glory and misfortunes, as said before, are the constant them* 
of admiration and reflection amongst the poets of Persia. 

D D 2 


" My light of life now fluttering sinks in shade, 
<l Let vengeance sleep, and peaceful vows be made. 
" Beseech the King to spare this Tartar host, 
" For they are guiltless, all to them is lost ; 
" I led them on, their souls with glory fired, 
" While mad ambition all my thoughts inspired. 
" In search of thee, the world before my eyes, 
" War was my choice, and thou the sacred prize ; 
" With thee, my sire ! in virtuous league combined, 
" No tyrant King should persecute mankind. 
" That hope is past the storm has ceased to rave 
" My ripening honours wither in the grave ; 
" Then let no vengeance on my comrades fall, 
" Mine was the guilt, and mine the sorrow, all ; 
" How often have I sought thee oft my mind 

" Figured thee to my sight o'erjoyed to find 

" My mother's token ; disappointment came, 

" When thou deniedst thy lineage and thy name ; 

" Oh ! still o'er thee my soul impassioned hung, 

" Still to my Father fond affection clung ! 

" But fata, remorseless, all my hopes withstood, 

" And stained thy reeking hands iii kindred blood." 

Hi-j faltering breath protracted speech denied : 
Still from his eye-lids flowed a gushing tide ; 
Through Rustem's soul redoubled horror ran, 
Heart-rending thoughts subdued the mighty man. 
And now, at last, with joy-illumined eye, 
The Zabul bands their glorious Chief descry ; 
But when they saw his pale and haggard look, 
Knew from what mournful cause he gazed and shook, 
With downcast mien they moaned and wept aloud ; 
While Rustem thus addressed the weeping crowd : 
" Here ends the war ! let gentle peace succeed, 
" Enough of death, I I have done the deed ! " 
Then to his brother, groaning deep, he said 
" what a curse upon a parent's head 1 


" But go and to the Tartar say no more, 

" Let war between us steep the earth with gore." 

Zuara flew and wildly spoke his grief, 

To crafty Human, the Turanian Chief, 

Who, with dissembled sorrow, heard him tell 

The dismal tidings which he knew too well ; 

" And who," he said, " has caused these tears to flow 1 

" Who, but Hujir ? He might have stayed the blow, 

" But when Sohrtib his Father's banners sought ; 

" He still denied that here the Champion fought ; 

" He spread the ruin, he the secret knew, 

" Hence should his crime receive the vengeance due !" 

Zuara, frantic, breathed in Rustem's ear, 

The treachery of the captive Chief, Hujir ; 

Whose headless trunk had weltered on the strand, 

But prayers and force withheld the lifted hand. 

Then to his dying son the Champion turned, 

Remorse more deep within his bosom burned ; 

A burst of frenzy fired his throbbing brain ; 

He clenched his sword, but found his fury vain ; 

The Persian Chiefs the desperate act represt, 

And tried to calm the tumult in his breast :* 

Thus Giidarz spoke " Alas ! wert thou to give 

" Thyself a thousand wounds, and cease to live ; 

" What would it be to him thou sorrowest o'er ? 

" It would not save one pang then weep no more ; 

" For if removed by death, say, to whom 

" Has ever been vouchsafed a different doom ? 

" All are the prey of death the crowned, the low, 

" And man, through life, the victim still of woe." 

Then Rustem : " Fly ! and to the King relate, 

" The pressing horrors which involve my fate ; 

* Antilochus thus restrains the fury of Achilles on beiug told of the fate of 
Patroclus : He 

Hangs on his arms, amidst his frantic woe, 

And oft prevents the meditated blow. PofE, Ilkd, xviii. 34, 


" And if the memory of my deeds e'er swayed 
" His mind, supplicate his generous aid ; 
" A sovereign balm he has whose wondrous power, 
" All wounds can heal, and fleeting life restore ;* 
" Swift from his tent the potent medicine bring." 
But mark the malice of the brainless King ! 
Hard as the flinty rock, he stern denies 
The healthful draught, and gloomy thus replies : 
" Can I forgive his foul and slanderous tongue ? 
" The sharp disdain on me contemptuous flung ? 
" Scorned 'midst my army by a shameless boy, 
" Who sought my throne, my sceptre to destroy ! 
" Nothing but mischief from his heart can flow, 
" Is it, then, wise to cherish such a foe ? 
" The fool who warms his enemy to life, 
" Only prepares for scenes of future strife." 

Giidarz, returning, told the hopeless tale 
And thinking Rustem's presence might prevail ; 
The Champion rose, but ere he reached the throne, 
Sohrab had breathed the last expiring groan. 

Now keener anguish rack'd the father's mind, 
Reft of his son, a murderer of his kind ; 
His guilty sword distained with filial gore, 
He beat his burning breast, his hair he tore ; 
The breathless corse before his shuddering view, 
A shower of ashes o'er his head he threw ; f 

* These medicated draughts are often mentioned in Romances. The 
reader will recollect the banter upon them in Don Quixote, where the Knight 
of La Mancha enumerates to Sancho the cures which had been performed upon 
many valorous champions, covered with wounds. The Hindus, in their books 
on medicine, talk of drugs for the recovery of the dead ! 

+ Scattering ashes over the head is a very ancient mode of expressing grief. 
Thus 2 Samuel, iii. 31 : "And David said to Joab, and to all the people that 
were with him, Rend your clothes, and gird you with sackcloth, and mourn 
before Abner." Also, xiii. 19 : "And Tamar put ashes on her head, and 
rent her garment." And thus Homer : 

A sudden horror shot through all ihe Chief, 

And wrapt his senses in the cloud of grief, 

Cast on the ground, with furious hands he spread 

The scorching ashes o'er his graceful head. POPE. Iliad, xviii. 22. 


" Tn my old age," he cried, " what have I done ? 

" Why have I slain my son, my innocent son ! 

" Why o'er his splendid dawning did I roll 

" The clouds of death, and plunge my burthened soul 

" In agony ? My son ! from heroes sprung ; 

" Better these hands were from my body wrung ; 

" And solitude and darkness, deep and drear, 

" Fold me from sight than hated linger here. 

" But when his mother hears, with horror wild, 

" That I have shed the life-blood of her child, 

" So nobly brave, so dearly loved, in vain, 

" How can her heart that rending shock sustain ? " 

Now on a bier the Persian warriors place 
The breathless Youth, and shade his pallid face ; 
And turning from that fatal field away, 
Move towards the Champion's home in long array. 
Then Eustem, sick of martial pomp and show, 
Himself the spring of all this scene of woe, 
Doomed to the flames the pageantry he loved,* 
Shield, spear, and mace, so oft in battle proved ; 
Now lost to all, encompassed by despair ; 
His bright pavilion crackling blazed in air ; 
The sparkling throne the ascending column fed ; 
In smoking fragments fell the golden bed ; 
The raging fire red glimmering died away, 
And all the Warrior's pride in dust and ashes lay. 

Kaiis, the King, now joins the mournful Chief, 
And tries to soothe his deep and settled grief ; 

* There is something in Virgil similar to this paroxysm of wrath against 
inaiiimate things, where Dido bids her sister erect a pile to bum the arms and 
presents of JEneas. 

Tu secreta pyram tecto interiors sub auras, 

Erige, et anna vlri, thalamo quae fixa reliuquit, 

Impius, exuviasque omues, lectumque jugalem, 

Quo peril, superimponas. .Sneid, iv. 494. 

But there is more of grandeur in the despairing anguish of Rustem. I know 
nothing of the kind in any of our Epic or Dramatic poets superior to this find 
burst of agonized feeling and remorse. 


For soon or late we yield our vital breath, 

And all our worldly troubles end in death ! 

" When first I saw him, graceful in his might, 

" He looked far other than a Tartar knight ; 

" Wondering I gazed now Destiny has thrown 

" Him on thy sword he fought, and he is gone ; 

" And should even Heaven against the earth be hurled, 

" Or fire inwrap in crackling flames the world, 

" That which is past we never can restore, 

" His soul has travelled to some happier shore. 

" Alas ! no good from sorrow canst thou reap, 

" Then wherefore thus in gloom and misery weep ? " 

But Rustem's mighty woes disdained his aid, 
His heart was drowned in grief, and thus he said : 
" Yes, he is gone ! to me for ever lost ! 
" then protect his brave unguided host ; 
" From war removed and this detested place, 
" Let them, unharmed, their mountain-wilds retrace ; 
" Bid them secure my brother's will obey, 
" The careful guardian of their weary way,* 
" To where the Jihun's distant waters stray." 
To this the King : " My soul is sad to see 
" Thy hopeless grief but, since approved by thee, 
" The war shall cease though the Turanian brand 
" Has spread dismay and terror through the land." 

The King, appeased, no more with vengeance burned, 
The Tartar legions to their homes returned ; 
The Persian warriors, gathering round the dead, 
Grovelled in dust, and tears of sorrow shed ; 
Then back to loved Iran their steps the monarch led. 

But Eustem, midst his native bands, remained, 
And further rites of sacrifice maintained ; 
A thousand horses bled at his command, 
And the torn drums were scattered o'er the sand ; 

* Z6ara conducted the troops of Afrasiyab across the Jihun. Rnstcm 
remained on the field of battle till his return. 


Aud now through Zabul's deep and bowery groves, 

In mournful pomp the sad procession moves. 

The might? Chief on foot precedes the bier ; 

His Warrior-friends, in grief assembled near : 

The dismal cadence rose upon the gale, 

And Zal astonished heard the piercing wail ; 

He and his kindred joined the solemn train ; 

Hung round the bier and wondering viewed the slain. 

" There gaze, and weep ! " the sorrowing Father said, 

" For there, behold my glorious offspring dead ! " 

The hoary Sire shrunk backward with surprise, 

And tears of blood o'erflowed his aged eyes ; 

And now the Champion's rural palace gate 

Eeceives the funeral group in gloomy state ; 

Riidabeh loud bemoaned the Stripling's doom ; 

Sweet flower, all drooping in the hour of bloom, 

His tender youth in distant bowers had past, 

Sheltered at home he felt no withering blast ; 

In the soft prison of his mother's arms, 

Secure from danger and the world's alarms. 

ruthless Fortune ! flushed with generous pride, 

He sought his sire, and thus unhappy, died. 

Rustem again the sacred bier unclosed ; 
Again Solmib to public view, exposed ; 
Husbands, and wives, and warriors, old and young, 
Struck with amaze, around the body hung, 
With garments rent and loosely flowing hair ; 
Their shrieks and clamours filled the echoing air ; 
Frequent they cried : " Thus Sdm the Champion slept ! 
" Thus sleeps Sohnib ! " Again they groaned, and wept. 

Now 'o'er the corpse a yellow robe is spread, 
The aloes bier is closed upon the dead ; 
And, to preserve the hapless hero's name, 
Fragrant and fresh, that his unblemished fame 
Might live and bloom through all succeeding days, 
A mound sepulchral on the spot they raise, 
Formed like a charger's hoof, 


In every car 

The story has been told and many a tear, 
Shed at the sad recital. Through Tiiran, 
Afhlsiyab's wide realm, and Samengtin, 
Deep sunk the tidings ; nuptial bower, and bed, 
And all that promised happiness, had fled ! 

But when Tahmineh heard this tale of woe, 
Think how a mother bore the mortal blow ! * 
Distracted, wild, she sprang from place to place ; 
With frenzied hands deformed her beauteous face ; 
The musky locks her polished temples crowned. 
Furious she tore, and flung upon the ground ; 
Starting, in agony of grief, she gazed, 
Her swimming eyes to Heaven imploring raised ; 
And groaning cried : " Sole comfort of my life ! 
" Doomed the sad victim of unnatural strife, 
" Where art thou now with dust and blood defiled ? 
" Thou darling boy, my lost, my murdered child ! 
" When thou wert gone how, night and lingering day, 
" Did thy fond mother watch the time away ; 
" For hope still pictured all I wished to see, 
" Thy father found, and thou returned to me, 
" Yes thou, exulting in thy father's fame ! 
" And yet, nor sure nor son, nor tidings, came : 
" How could I dream of this ? ye met but how ? 
" That noble aspect that ingenuous brow, 
" Moved not a nerve in him ye met to part, 
" Alas ! the life-blood issuing from the heart. 
" Short was the day which gave to me delight, 
" Soon, soon, succeeds a long and dismal night ; 

* The death of Euryalus, in the .Slneid (ix. 473), exhibits an exquisite 
display of natural maternal feeling, but less complicated and agonizing than 
the death of Sohrab. Euryalus was killed in the bloom of youth by the 
enemy : Sohrab by his Father. It would appear that Human, on his return, 
sent to Tahmineh the war-horse, armour, and every thing belonging to her 
unfortunate eon. 


" On whom shall now devolve my tender care ? 

" Who, loved like thee, my bosom-sorrows share ? 

" Whom shall I take to fill thy vacant place, 

" To whom extend a mother's soft embrace ? 

" Sad fate ! for one so young, so fair, so brave, 

" Seeking thy father thus to find a grave. 

" These arms no more shall fold thee to my breast, 

" No more with thee my soul be doubly blest ; 

" No, drowned in blood thy lifeless body lies, 

" For ever torn from these desiring eyes ; 

" Friendless, alone, beneath a foreign sky, 

" Thy mail thy death-clothes and thy father, by ; 

" Why did not I conduct thee on the way,* 

" And point where Rustem's bright pavilion lay ? 

" Thou hadst the tokens why didst thou withhold 

" Those dear remembrances that pledge of gold ? 

" Hadst thou the bracelet to his view restored, 

" Thy precious blood had never stained his sword." 

The strong emotion choked her panting breath, 
Her veins seemed withered by the cold of death : 
The trembling matrons hastening round her mourned, 
With piercing cries, till fluttering life returned ; 
Then gazing up, distraught, she wept again, 
And frantic, seeing 'midst her pitying train, 
The favourite steed now more than ever dear, 
The hoofs she kissed, and bathed with many a tear ; 
Clasping the mail Sohrub in battle wore, 
With burning lips she kissed it o'er and o'er ; 
His martial robes she in her arms comprest, 
And like an infant strained them to her breast ; 
The reins, and trappings, club, and spear, were brought, 
The sword, and shield, with which the Stripling fought, 

* There is a similar thought in Douglas : 

My murdered child ! had thy fond mother feared 

The loss of thee, she had loud fame dufk'd, 

And wandered with thee through the scorning world. 



These she embraced with melancholy joy, 

In sad remembrance of her darling boy. 

And still she beat her face, and o'er them hung, 

As in a trance or to them wildly clung 

Day after day she thus indulged her grief, 

Night after night, disdaining all relief ; 

At length worn out from earthly anguish riven, 

The mother's spirit joined her child in Heaven. 







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